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Religious revivals 

Their effect on thought and 
hfe .... 

American revival in 1832 

Its extent' and strength 

Its origin . 

Its leaders . 

Not confined to any one 

Anxious questionings . 

Churches open night and day 

Theatres converted into 
churches . 

Camp-meetings . 

Agony of soul 

Extends to England and 
Germany . 



The new Pauline Church 
Its two great branches 
Its leaders and expositors 
Its principles 
Convention of Perfectionists 








They call themselves " Saints 

Discussion upon marriage 

Lamentable disclosures 

Spiritual unions . 

Tendencies of the Pauline 
Church . 

Miss Lucina Umphreville 
Her views on the relations 

of the sexes in heaven 
Friendship of souls 
Purity of love 

"Spiritual" husbands and 
" spiritual" brides . 

The terms first used by the 
Rev. Erasmus Stone 

His dream . 

Its interpretation 

Effects of the interpretation 

Spiritual weddings 

Convention of Saints at Ca 
naseraga . 

Chastity required in spirit- 
ual unions 

Distress of mind in the 
burnt districts . 

Breaking bonds 

Miss Umphreville and the 
Rev. C. Lovett . 















Second branch of the Pauline 
Church .... 20 

Spiritual movement in Brim- 
field 20 

Female agitators . . .20 

Miss Mary Lincoln . .21 

Her parents . . .21 

Becomes a member of the 
Perfect Church . . 21 

Her zeal . . . .22 

Excited imaginations . . 24 

" Brothers" and " sisters" . 25 

Killing the sense of shame . 25 

Defiance of the world's 
opinion . . . .26 



Noyes' doctrine of the Se- 
cond Coming . . .27 

His arrival at Brimfield .27 

His preaching and its re- 
sults . . . .28 

Brimfield dangerous . 29 

His flight to Putney . . 30 

Mary Lincoln and Maria 

Brown raise a scandal . 31 
"Bundling" ... 31 

Anger of Mary Lincoln's 
father . . . .31 

Is sent away from home . 32 

Prophesies the destruction 
of Brimfield by fire . .32 

Flight from Brimfield . 32 

Miseries endured . . .33 




Noyes' share in the Brimfield 
revival . . . .35 

He preaches the doctrine of 
the Second Coming . . 35 

" The Eternal Promise " . 35 

Disorderly doings at Brim- 
field .... 36 

Freedom of manners . .37 

Flight from Brimfield . . 37 

Flight to the mountain . 38 

Letter fiom Maria Brown to 
Noyes .... 39 

First letter from Mary Lin- 
coln to Noyes . . .41 

Second letter . . .44 

History of the Brimfield 
affair completed . . 46 

More spiritual matings . 47 



Mary Lincoln mated to the 
Rev. Chauncey Dutton . 48 

Itinerant preaching . . 49 
Rev. . J. Rider mates Mrs. 
Chapman. . . .50 

Treatment of the Spiritual 
husband by Mr. Chapman 50 

Chapman stricken blind . 51 

A reconciliation . . .51 

Death of Mrs. Chapman . 51 

Noyes' theory of spiritual 
wifehood . . . .51 

The Battle Axe Letter . 52 

Rejoicing in the Lord . .52 




Investigation of prophecies 53 

The saints' warfare . . 54 

A delicate subject . .55 

No marriage covenant on 
earth . , . .55 

Spiritual communism . . 56 

Results of the letter . .56 

Wallingford and Oneida 
Creek .... 56 



Spiritual wifehood and the 
teaching of St. Paul . 57 

Was St. Paul married 1 .57 

What was his female helper ? 58 

Divisions of opinion . . 58 

Opinions of the Early Fathers 59 

Renderings of the Greek 
term adelphen gynaika . 60 

Interpretation by the Pauline 
Churches . . .61 

Silence of St. Paul's bio- 
graphers . . . .61 

Agapa3, or love-feasts . . 62 

Communism of early Chris- 
tianity . . . .62 

The Sermon on the Mount . 63 

TheEssenes ... 63 

Their doctrines and virtues 64 



What are agapse % . .65 
Ridiculed by heathen writers 66 

Incur the suspicion of licen- 
tiousness . . .66 

Their suppression . . 66 

How at first celebrated . 67 

Benefits achieved by them . 68 

On what occasions held . 68 

Abuse of privileges . .69 

Fraternal kissing . . 69 

St. Paul on the love-feasts at 
Corinth . . . .70 

Love-feasts restored by the 
American Saints . .71 



Friendship between male 
and female saints . . 72 

Elder Moore and his re- 
ligious trials . . .72 

Miss Harding visits his class 73 

Mutual affinities . . .73 

His sense of love while ob- 
serving the Lord's Supper 74 

Rev. John B. Foot . . 75 

His conversion . . .75 

Becomes a revival preacher 76 

Joins the Rev. C. Mead . 76 

A visit to Foot's married 
sister . . . .76 

A discovery . . .77 
Contention of spirit . . 77 
A Spiritual bridal . . 78 
Summary punishment of the 

Saints . . . "78 
Mead's trial and imprison- 
ment . • • .78 




worden's confession. 


Worden's position in life . 80 

Joins the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church . . .81 

Is converted to Methodist 
Perfectionism . . .81 

New convictions . . 82 

Belief of the Perfectionists . 83 

The spiritual-wife theory . 84 

Reminiscences of its founders 84 

Causes of scandal . . 85 

Origin of Spiritual wifehood 86 

His attachment to a no- 
marriage young lady . 87 

His marriage . .87 



The idolater and his idol . 89 

George Cragin ; his parentage 90 

Passages in his youth . 91 

His conversion . . .91 

Flirtations . . . .92 

Stern exercise of the spirit 92 

The Johnsons and Gorhams 93 

Mary Johnson : her educa- 
tion . . . .94 

Establishment of infant- 
schools in New York . 95 

Mary Johnson undertakes 

a charge .... 95 

Her energy and zeal . . 96 

Esteem in which she was held 97 




A mental suggestion . . 98 

An encounter . . .99 

An " uncalled-for " . .100 

A consultation . . .101 

A pleasant walk . . .101 

Leadings of Piovidence . 101 

An invitation . . . 102 

Close of Mary's school . 103 
Her father loses his business 103 

Offers of marriage refused . 104 

George's proposal . .104 

Marriage . . . .106 



Dangerous classes . . 107 

The bane and the antidote . 107 

Philanthropic associations . 108 

Cragin, agent of the Female 
Moral Reform Society . 108 

Cragin's idolatry . . .108 

Revival storms . . .109 

Perfect holiness ; salvation 
from sin . . . .109 

Heart- troubles . . .110 

Escape from a snare . .110 

Blind leaders . . .110 

Light in darkness . .111 

Father Noyes' paper on the 
power of faith . . .111 

Its effect on Mrs. Cragin .111 

Story of her inner life . .112 

The power of faith . .113 

The conflict passed . .113 









A life without sin 


Arrival at Rondout 


Self-renunciation . 


The stone house . 


Ready for the sacrifice 


Its ceconomy 


An indwelling Christ . 


Hard fare and driving work 


George's conversion to Per- 

George turns farmer . 




Godliness and contentment 


Before the Board of the Re- 

Love a snare 


form Society . 


A divided house 


Is dismissed from office 


Indications of stormy weather 138 

Mary's joy . 


Abram and Mary 


Her letter to Father Noyes 


George self-condemned 


Perfectionist leaders . 


Heart-feelings . 


Suspicious flirtations . 


Position of affairs 


Mrs. Cragin becomes popular 


Spiritual conflicts 


A spiritual guide 





A name analysed . .123 

Smith's virtues and vices . 124 

His religious experiences . 124 

Is licensed to preach . .125 

His domestic life . .125 

Angel visits . . .126 
George and Mary in doubt . 127 

Spirit- voices . . .128 

An invitation from Smith . 129 

Its acceptance . . .131 

Bound for Rondout Creek . 131 

Mary's distress of mind . 131 

A saintly Comforter . .132 


Relation between Mr. Smith 

and Mary . . .142 
Spiritual love . . . 143 
Where will it end ? . .143 
Arrival of Father Noyes . 144 
Rumours of threats . . 144 
Noyes a peacemaker . . 145 
Abram submits . . .145 
Admonitions . . .146 
An evening with Noyes . 146 
The higher school of Christ 147 
Quietness restored atRondout 148 
Sober reflection . . . 149 
Hopes disappointed . .150 
Smith recovers his power . 152 
A victory achieved . . 153 
x\t peace . . . .154 





Mrs. Cragin accepts Smith 
as her Spiritual husband . 153 

Smith leaves "Rondout on a 
preaching mission . . 154 

Mary goes to New York . 154 

Her return . . . .155 

Symptoms of a burdened mind 155 

George called to New York . 155 

A communication . . 156 

. 157 

. 158 

. 159 

. 159 

A sleepless night 
A clean breast 
Brother and sister 
A crisis of life 



A day of confessions . 

Mutual exhortations . 

Return of Smith . 

A terrible night . 

A meeting .... 

Appeals to Heaven 

Story of a straggle 

Smith changes his base of 



He resolves to consult Noyes 1 66 


The judgment of Noyes .168 
Smith's domestic and social 
relations . . . .169 


New relations between George 
and Mary . . .170 

Resolve to leave Rondout . 171 

Disposal of their furniture . 171 

Bound for New York . .172 

Mary's letter to Noyes . 172 

Purgation from self-conceit . 173 

They join the Communists 

at; Oneida Creek . .173 
Mary drowned in Rondout 

Creek . . . .174 



Marriage revolution in Ame- 
rica 175 

Revivals: their philosophy . 176 
A theocratic revolution . 176 
Religious and sexual love .177 
Wild experiments . .177 
A divine organization of 
society required . .177 

Morbid results of revivals .177 
Revivals and Shakerism . 177 
Elder Frederick's view of 
revivals . . . .178 

The revivals in 1835-6 not 
taken advantage of by 
Shakers . . . .178 

Boast of Doctor Gridley . 179 
Shakerism . . . .179 
Mor monism and revivals . 180 
Sequence from revivals to 
polygamy . . .180 

Revivals theocratic in their 
nature . . . .180 

Leadership of women in Sha- 
kerism .... 181 



The two stages of love 
The courting and the -wedded 

stage . 
Shakerism the feminine form 

of revivals 



. 182 

Mormonism the masculine . 182 

Oneida Creek socialism 

A retrospect 

The confession of holiness . 

The germ of the theory of 
Communism . 

The prosperity of religious 

The fate of scientific social- 
isms .... 

The theocratic basis . 







Freedom of opinion in Ame- 
rica 187 

Spiritual wifehood traceable 
to Europe . . .187 

Fraternity of the Free Spirit 187 

John of Leyden . . . 187 

Speculations of Swedenborg 188 

Wolfgang von Gothe . .188 

The practice of St. Paul . 189 

His female companion . 189 

Swedenborg's new heaven 
and new earth . .190 

Marriage of souls in heaven 191 

Earthly and heavenly mar- 
riages . . . .191 

Perfect lovers . . .194 

Nature exists in pairs . 195 

Reunions in heaven . .196 




Gothe's belief in a friend- 
ship higher than marriage 197 
" Werther's Burden " . . 197 
The struggle of two souls . 198 
His " Free Affinities " . 198 
Plato's theory of split men . 199 
The meaning of "affinities" 203 

Relation of all natural obj ects 
to themselves . . . 203 

Water, oil, mercury . . 203 

Raindrops ; globules of mer- 
cury . . . .203 

Combination of hostile ele- 
ments .... 204 

A case of free affinity . . 205 

The end of Gothe's story . 205 



Robert Owen on the regene- 
ration of society . . 207 

Harmony and association . 207 

The Rappites ; their failure 207 

Owen's heresies . . . 208 

Failure of his plans in Europe 
and America . . . 208 

Owen's views of the mar- 
riage-state . . . 209 

Family life at war with social 209 

The Shakers and Mormons 209 

The Princeites and Bible 
Communists . . . 210 

Dale Owen and Frances 

Wright . . . .210 
Privy Councillor to Republic 211 




Doctrines of Free Love and 
Divorce . . . .211 

Dale Owen, his great abilities 21 1 

Frances Wright's discoveries 212 

The earth over-peopled . 212 

The law of marriage makes 
woman a slave. . .212 

Her lectures on marriage .213 

Dale Owen's "Moral Phi- 
losophy" . . . .214 



Albert Brisbane a disciple 
of Fourier • . . 215 

Fourier and Robert Owen 
compared . . .215 

Fourier's theory on the 
rights of property . .215 

Fourier's ignorance of science 217 

Blunders in his books . .217 

Brisbane's lectures .219 

Opposed by Henry Raymond 220 

Settlement at Red Bank . 221 

New views respecting ma- 
nual labour . . . 222 

Neglect of religion . . 223 

Dress of the women at Red- 
bank . . . .223 

Symptoms of failure . . 223 

Red Bank sold . . . 224 

Rev. George Ripley and Mar- 
garet Fuller . . . 224 

Brook Farm settlement a 
failure . . . .225 




Different views on marriage 
in England and America . 227 

Disparity of the sexes in 
America .... 227 

Women in the ascendancy . 228 

Free love and its advo- 
cates . . . .228 

Poems . •. . .228 

" The higher law " . . 232 

Free -love the sequence of 
free faith . . .233 

Recognised by law-courts - 233 

A curious case . . . 233 

A free-love wedding . . 234 

Settlements of Free-love . 236 

Berlin Heights . . .236 

Modern Times . . .237 

Its inhabitants affect the 
Positive Philosophy . 237 

" No questions asked " . 238 



Andrew Jackson Davis, the 
Poughkeepsie Seer . . 239 

His " Great Harmonia " . 240 

Swedenborg and his works 241 

Influence of his writings . 242 

Professor Bush a convert to 
Swedenborgianism . . 243 

Restless minds . . . 244 

Electro-biology . . .296 

Spirit-rapping . . . 247 

Mesmer and Swedenborg . 247 



Bush and Davis . . 248 

Social doctrine of the New 
Harmonia hostile to mar- 
riage .... 249 



Davis an echo of Swedenborg 250 

His practical aims . .251 

His unscrupulous conduct . 251 

Mode of spiritual mating . 252 

Carpenter's confession . 252 

Towler's confession . . 256 

Practical issue of Davis's 
teaching .... 258 



Development of religious life 259 

Inner circle of man's passions 259 

Love: what can be done with 
it ? 260 

A celestial order . . . 260 

The will of God . . .261 

Men and angels . . . 262 

Love of women ; pride of off- 
spring .... 263 

The anti-social spirit of the 

Roman Church . . 263 
Monks and nuns . . 263 

The revolt of human passion 264 
St. Paul's declaration . . 264 

A bishop the husband of one 
wife . . . . 264 

The Apostolic Constitutions 265 

Asceticism of Eastern creeds 266 


The clergy free to marry in 
the Early Church . 

Polycarp and Irenseus 

Tertullian and Ignatius 

Cyprian .... 

Polygamy prevalent among 
the Jews .... 



The Apostolical Canons 

Allow the marriage of 
priests . . . .269 

Signs of a coming change . 269 

Marriage permitted in the 
Oriental church . . 270 



Celibacy imposed on priests 
by the Roman church . 271 

The doctrine took its rise in 
Spain . . . .271 

Spain the source of religious 
passions and creeds . .271 

The Council of Elvira . . 273 

Priests ordered to put away 
their wives . . . 273 

Effect of the articles of Elvira 274 

Resistance to the decree . 277 

A fierce and long battle . 277 

Charges against Woman . 278 

Woman held in respect by 
the Gothic race . . 279 



Revivals . . . .283 
Their effect on social life . 283 



Yearnings for a higher sexual 
affinity than wedlock . 284 

Marriage and divorce . . 284 

The liberty of divorce . 284 

Marriage-vows how regarded 
in the South of Europe . 284 

Wives and their husbands . 285 

Cavalieres serventes . . 286 

Married life in Italy . . 286 

The Gothic race ; its views 
of the married state . 289 

Nuptials for eternity . . 289 



True and false marriages . 


Modifications in the laws of 

man and wife . 


Energy of the Gothic race . 


Its social experiments 


Qualities of other races 


The world of spirits . 


Theories of spiritual and 

social life 



. 293 




In the year 1832, a loud and angry tempest rolled 
through a great part of the Teutonic heaven ; 
especially through that part of the Teutonic 
heaven which spans the American continent ; a 
thing new and weird, which has not yet had 
much attention paid to it by public writers ; 
certainly not so much as from what is seen of 
its effect upon our religious thought and social 
life, it would seem to crave. 

A great revival of religion then took place. 

Of course revivals of religion have been seen in 
every country and in almost every age. A move- 
ment in the minds of men ; quick, luminous, 
electrical, coming no one knows whence, wearing 



itself out no one cm tell why ; is one of the forms 
in which we see that the work of God is done 
upon this earth. A church, a city, — nay, a province, 
may be suddenly, unaccountably, changed and rapt 
by spiritual forces. Gifted men and women — men 
like Whitfield and Wesley ; women like Ann Lee 
and Lady Huntingdon — seem to carry this fiery 
fluid in their brains, to breathe it from their lungs, 
to shed it from their hands. Where such agents 
of the unseen forces come, disturbance of the con- 
science also comes ; so that men who are dead to 
the Gospel, when they only see it in the daily beauty 
of our service, pale and crouch with fear, as though 
they had been smitten by some unseen arm. Yet 
oftener still, the passion and the power well out 
from no visible source. A cry goes up from some 
village church, from some unknown lip, which 
sets a whole city, a whole province, rocking and 
reeling to the dust. Thus it happened in New 
Haven and New York in 1832. No man can tell 
how the Great American Revival came about ; no- 
body caused it, nobody could guide it, nobody could 
stop it. No revival in the past could vie, in either 
length of time, in width of area, or in strength of 
passion, with this Great Revival. Other move- 
ments had been personal, this movement was 


national. One storm had raged round Whitfield ; 
another had found its centre in Ann Lee. The 
Great American Revival was the result of unknown 
efforts, of unrecorded inspirations. It has never 
been identified with a single name. Who can say 
where it first began ? Two large tracts of coun- 
try, one in the state of New York, one in the 
state of Massachusetts, are to this day mapped 
in religious books, each as the original "burnt 
district ;" the province over which the fiery tem- 
pest broke and swept, like a prairie fire ignited 
from the clouds. 

We catch a first glimpse of this tempest 
raging on the shores of Lake Ontario, among the 
farms and hamlets of Oneida county and Madison 
county ; most of all, perhaps, among the home- 
steads standing on the banks of the two lovely 
sheets of water, called by the Indian names of 
Cayuga Lake and Oneida Lake. So far as I can 
learn, the men among whom it first broke out 
were not of very high name and fame. The Rev. 
James Boyle was known simply as a fair scholar, 
a fine preacher. The Rev. Luther Meyrick enjoyed 
the favour of a local church. The Rev. Hiram 
Sheldon, of Delphi, afterwards only too well 
known in New York, had not then been heard of 


in the larger world. Jarvis Rider of De Ruyter, 
Horatio Foot of Manlius, Erasmus Stone of Salina, 
three ministers living in the burnt district of New 
York, could hardly boast of anything beyond a 
little fame on the country side, until the cause in 
which they toiled had put their names into the 
mouths of men. They did not make the revival; 
the revival made them. 

Those in whom the spiritual leaven first began 
to work were working members of old and highly 
reputed churches. The Rev. Abram C. Smith, the 
story of whose life as the spiritual husband of 
Mary Cragin I shall have to tell in detail, was a 
Wesleyan Methodist. Marquis L. Worden, whose 
confessions will be found on a later page, was an 
Episcopalian Methodist. Luther Meyrick and 
James Boyle, the most eminent perhaps of these 
revival preachers, were Evangelicals. The Rev. 
Theophilus R. Gates, editor of The Battle Axe, 
and founder of a wild sect in Philadelphia, was an 
Independent. The Rev. John H. Noyes, the father 
of Pauline communism, was a Congregationalist, 
Cragin, the moral reformer, and Moore, the leader 
among Sunday-schools and Bible-classes, were both 

For more than a year, the facts which are seen 


in all revivals where the scale is large and the 
country wild, were noticed in these burnt districts 
of New York and Massachusetts ; afterwards, as 
the fury spread abroad, they were seen in a hun- 
dred towns, in a thousand hamlets, of the United 
States. By a sudden prompting from within, 
so far as men could see, a number of orderly 
and reputable persons began to ask each other, 
in eager words and with pallid lips, how it stood 
with them in the great account. Were they 
ranked among the chosen ? Were they ready 
for the Lord's coming? Did they feel in their 
souls that the Lamb had died for them, and that 
all their sins had been purged away ? Some 
could not answer. Some dared not face these 
questions. Who could tell that he was saved? 
Many of those who were in doubt began to seek. 
Men who had never been at church before became 
constant hearers of the word. At first the old 
and steady preachers welcomed this change of 
mind ; their pews being now let, their sermons 
heeded, and their benches filled. But soon the 
frenzy of desire to know the best and worst rose 
high around them and above them, frothing beyond 
their guidance and control. A service once a- 
week was but as a drop of water on the lips of 


men and women panting for a living brook. 
The churches had to be thrown open. At first 
an evening meeting was called for prayer; then 
a morning meeting ; afterwards an hour was 
snatched from the busy noon ; until at length 
some ministers took the course of keeping what 
was called an open house of God, from early 
dawn until long past midnight every day. Pallor 
fell on the bronze cheek, alarm invaded the callous 
heart. By night and day the chapels were crowded 
with sinners, imploring the Lord to have mercy on 
them. Heaven was assailed by multitudes of souls, 
conscious of sin and peril, and seeking to take the 
judgment-seat by storm. The church brimmed 
over, so to speak, into the street. Rooms were 
hired ; school-rooms, dancing-halls, even theatres ; 
every place that would hold a congregation became 
a church. In the country districts, camps were 
formed for prayer ; a cart became a pulpit, a tent 
a chancel, the stump of a tree an altar ; while 
hundreds of wandering and unauthorized preachers, 
male and female, took the field against Satan and 
the flesh. In the agony which grew upon men's 
souls, the regular clergy came to be esteemed as 
dumb and faithless witnesses for the truth. 
Farmers and tinkers, loud of voice and fierce of 


aspect, ran about the country, calling on sinners 
to repent, and flee from the wrath to come. All 
ranks and orders were confounded in a common 
sense of danger, and the ignorant flocks who had 
gathered round these prophets of doom, were 
easily persuaded that the calm and conservative 
churches of the world, which looked on all these 
doings sad and silent, were dead and damned. 

This spiritual tempest crossed the Atlantic 
Ocean into England, and the English Channel into 
Germany, in both of which countries it found a 
people more or less open to its unspent power. In 
America, where it was native and national, it had 
a wider success and a longer reign than in Europe ; 
but in England and in Germany it kept up a 
faint and irregular kind of activity for many years. 
In truth, no one can assert that in either country, 
any more than in America, its force is spent and 
its service done. 



The new Pauline Church of America, founded in 
the course of this Great Revival, was divided 
from the first into two great branches and many 
sub-branches. The first professors of holiness had 
their home at Manlius, in the state of New York, 
with the Rev. Hiram Sheldon as their leader and 
expositor ; the second had their home at Yale 
College, in the state of Connecticut, afterwards 
at Putney, in the state of Vermont, with the 
Rev. John H. Noyes as leader and expositor : but 
these centres of holiness were not fixed and final ; 
these chiefs of the Perfect Church did not reign 
alone. In America, no place is the sole seat of 
empire, and no first-man has an undisputed reign. 
Sheldon's power was shared by the Rev. Jarvis 
Rider, the Rev. Martin P. Sweet, and the Rev. 
Erasmus Stone. Noyes, on his side, had to consult, 
and sometimes to follow, the Rev. James Boyle 
and the Rev. Theophilus R. Gates. 


This Pauline Church — professing to have been 
founded on a new series of visions, intimations, 
and internal movements of the Spirit — taught 
the doctrine that man may attain to the perfect 
state, in which he shall be cleansed from sin 
and made incapable of sin. Into the dogmatic 
part of this question, thus raised, I need not 
enter, since it is a very old theory in the Church, 
and has found some favour in the eyes of orthodox 
and exalted saints. The testimony, both of Sheldon 
and his followers, also of Noyes and his followers, 
was that they had been saved from sin by the 
power of faith, and were entering upon the enjoy- 
ment of perfect love. 

In the winter months of 1834, a general con- 
vention of the New York Perfectionists was 
called at Manlius, a village of cotton-mills, in 
Onandaga county, six or seven miles from Oneida 
Lake. The people, who assembled in a beerhouse, 
heard the new gospel proclaimed by Hiram Sheldon 
from Delphi, Erasmus Stone from Salina, Jarvis 
Rider from De Puyter; the meeting was warm 
in tone, and many of the young factory girls were 
drawn that day to a closer knowledge of the 
Lord. At Manlius, the chosen took upon them- 
selves the name of " Saints." Here they announced 


their separation from the world. Here they began 
to debate whether the old marriage vows would 
or would not be binding in the new heaven and 
the new earth. " When a man becomes conscious 
that his soul is saved," says Noyes, "the first 
thing that he sets about is to find his Paradise 
and his Eve." It is a very sad fact, which shows 
in what darkness men may grope and pine in 
this wicked world, that when these Perfect Saints 
were able to look about them in the new freedom 
of Gospel light, hardly one of the leading men 
among them could find an Eden at home, an Eve 
in his lawful wife. 

The doctrine openly avowed at Manlius was, 
that with the old world which was then passing 
away would go all legal bonds and rights ; that 
old ties were about to become loosened, and old 
associations to end ; including those of prince and 
liege, of cleric and layman, of parent and child, 
of husband and wife. These old rights were to 
be replaced by new ones. A kingdom of heaven 
was at hand ; and in that kingdom of heaven 
every man was to be happy in his choice. And 
it was not only right, but prudent, to prepare 
betimes for that higher state of conjugal bliss. 
The doctrine taught in the privacy of the love- 


feast and the prayer-meeting was, that all the 
arrangements for a life in heaven may be made on 
earth ; that spiritual friendships may be formed, 
and spiritual bonds contracted, valid for eternity, 
in the chapel and the camp. Hence it became 
quickly understood among them that the things 
of time were of slight account even in this earthly 
life ; and that the things of heaven were to be 
considered as all in all. Not that any rule came 
into vogue which either led, or looked like leading, 
to a breach of the social law. On this point all 
the witnesses speak one way. Judged by their 
daily lives, Sheldon and his followers struck 
the mere observer as men who lived by higher 
rule and a better light than their neighbours 
of the Lake country. If they sang of their 
return from Babylon, it was with a staid and 
sober joy. If they had escaped from bonds, 
they saw that the world had still some claims 
upon their conduct. From of old the letter 
and the spirit had been at war; in their new 
condition the Saints were called to bear witness 
against the flesh ; yet the spirit and the letter 
should be held to a fair account with each other 
in their words and deeds. In truth, the first 
tendencies of this Pauline Church were rather 


towards an ascetic than towards an indulgent 

Among the persons whom this great revival had 
brought into notice was Miss Lucina Umphreville, 
of Delphi, a young lady of high descent, of good 
ability, of engaging manner, and of great personal 
beauty. She was an early convert, and her strong 
will, aided by her sweet face, gave her a leading 
influence in the sect. Lucina claimed to have 
visions, intuitions, inspirations, on many points of 
faith ; more than all others, on the relations of the 
two sexes in the Redeemers kingdom. These 
relations were the constant theme of her dis- 
courses. Like Ann Lee, the foundress of Shaker- 
ism, she held that in the day of grace all love 
between the male and female must be chaste and 
holy. Hence she raised up her voice against wed- 
lock and the wedded rule. She held that the 
females must not think of love ; that the men 
must not woo them ; that the church must not 
celebrate the marriage rite; and that those who 
had already passed beneath the yoke must live as 
though they had not. 

Most of the women, I am told, fell into 
Lucina's ways of thinking on this subject. No 
article was adopted, for articles were not the 


fashion in New York. But the young farmers 
and artisans in the burnt district, who had thought 
their course of love running smooth enough, were 
suddenly perplexed by coyness and reserve on the 
part of girls who had heretofore greeted them 
with smiles and kisses. A mob of lasses began 
to dream dreams, to interpret visions, directed 
against love and marriage, as love and marriage 
were understood by an unregenerate world. Some 
of those girls who were old enough to have been 
engaged, threw up their lovers. Younger girls 
held off from the coarser sex. Married women 
grew dubious as to their line of duty ; which 
doubt and fear led, where the husbands happened 
to be worldly-minded, into many a serious breach 
of domestic peace. In fact, these female saints 
had become so good that the young men of the 
district said they were good for nothing. 

Lucina Umphreville, the cause of so many 
breaking hearts, was generally denounced by the 
men as Miss Anti-marriage. But, like Elderess 
Antoinette of Mount Lebanon, Lucina Umphre- 
ville did not condemn the male and female saints 
to live a life apart, and thus to become absolute 
strangers to each other. Young herself, and full of 
love for her kind, she allowed some play to the 


higher affections, so long as these should be 
exercised only in the Lord. Men and women 
might be friends, though she could not permit 
them to become lovers and mistresses. Under 
Lucinas guidance, for in these things Sheldon 
himself could not fight against her, a sweet and 
perilous privilege was assumed by these New 
York saints of entering into new and mysterious 
bonds of the spirit. In this friendship of souls 
the law was to have no voice, the flesh no 
share ; male and female were to be brother and 
sister only ; they might address each other in 
sacred terms, and grant to their beloved the 
solace of a holy kiss. Beyond these freedoms 
they were not to go ; and even these sweet 
privileges were to be put aside on any move- 
ment in the heart suggesting an unchaste desire. 
The love was to be wholly pure and free. No law 
was ever laid down; but it was tacitly agreed 
among the saints that these tender passages of 
soid with soul were not to be made the subject of 
idle talk. An air of silence and reserve, if not of 
secresy, was thought to befit so solemn an encounter 
of spirits ; and every one was expected to guard 
in his fellow a right which he was free to exercise 
for himself. So intimate a connexion of the male 


and female saints was likely to become known by 
a special and striking name. Some one in the 
Church suggested that this new relation of souls 
was that of the spiritual husband to his spiritual 

So far as I can see, the name appears to have 
been first used in New York by the Rev. Erasmus 
Stone, a revival preacher at Salina, the famous salt 
village lying on the shore of Onondaga Lake. In 
the early days of the revival, Stone had seen a 
vision of the night. A mighty host of men and 
women filled the sky ; a sudden spirit seemed to 
quicken them ; they began to move, to cross each 
other, and to fly hither and thither. A great pain, 
an eager want, were written on their faces. Each 
man appeared to be yearning for some woman, each 
woman appeared to be moaning for some man. 
Every one in that mighty host had seemingly lost 
the thing most precious to his heart. On waking 
from his slumber, Stone, who had perhaps been 
reading Plato, told this dream to his disciples in 
the salt-works. When his people asked him for 
the interpretation of his dream, he said, that in 
the present stage of being, men and women are 
nearly always wrongly paired in marriage ; that 
his vision was the day of judgment; that the 


mighty hosts were the risen dead, who had started 
from the grave as they had been laid down, side 
by side ; that the trouble which had come upon 
them was the quick discerning of the spirit that 
they had not been truly paired on earth ; that the 
violent pain and want upon their faces were the 
desires of every soul to find its natural mate. 

Reports of this vision of the night, and of 
Stone s interpretation of it, ran like a prairie-fire 
through the revival camp. Sheldon adopted this 
idea of a spiritual affinity between man and wo- 
man ; declaring that this spiritual kinship might 
be found by delicate tests in this nether world, and 
that this relation of the sexes to each other extends 
into the heavenly kingdom. No long time elapsed 
before Stone and Sheldon were both found putting 
their doctrine to the proof. In Salina, there lived 
a married woman of some beauty and much in- 
telligence, named Eliza Porter, who had been an 
early convert to holiness, and a leading member of 
the Church. Stone had need to see Eliza very 
often ; for they led the prayer-meetings and 
managed the church business in common. Stone 
found in Eliza a help-meet in the Lord; and 
as their hearts melted towards each other, they 
began to find affinities in their souls which they 


had not imagined. All the members of their 
church perceived and justified the union of these 
two souls. Sheldon, too, discovered that he had 
been married by mistake to a stranger spirit, one 
who would be happier when she got her release from 
him, and found the original partner of her soul. 
He found his own second self in Miss Sophia A. 
Cook, a young unmarried lady living in the lake 

Lucina Umphreville held that this sort of friend- 
ship between male and female saints in these latter 
days and in the Perfect Church, was not only allow- 
able in itself, but honourable alike for the woman 
and the man. St. Paul, she said, had his female 
companion in the Lord; and it was right for Sheldon, 
Stone, and Rider to have each his female companion 
in the Lord. The He v. Jar vis Rider is said to have 
taken the young lady at her word, and to have 
pressed his claim for a share in her mystic dreams. 
True to her creed, the beautiful girl entrusted her- 
self in spiritual wedlock to a man who very soon 
proved by his acts that he was unworthy to have 
been trodden beneath her feet ; and the state into 
which she passed through this contract with Rider, 
she represented to herself and to others as the 
highest condition ever to be reached on earth. 




Two years after the convention of Saints in 
Manlius, a meeting was called at Canaseraga, also 
in the burnt district, at which Rider and Lucina 
Umphreville were present, as the chief male and 
female preachers. They travelled in company, and 
held a common testimony as to the Lords doings 
in their souls. They spoke of their affinity for 
each other ; describing the state into which they 
had entered as one of high attainment and lasting 
peace. In this meeting they professed to have 
gained a new and nobler ground of religious ex- 
perience than any which they had previously 
enjoyed ; asserting in their sermons that they had 
now attained to the state of the resurrection from 
the dead. 

In this meeting, and in other meetings which 
followed it, Rider and Lucina took the high ground 
held by the followers of Ann Lee ; that of a pure 
and perfect chastity being the only basis of com- 
panionship between man and woman in the Lord. 
Their strength was spent in a daily protest against 
what they called the work of the devil in the flesh, 
and many persons in the burnt district followed 
them in this war upon the world and the world's 
ways. Along the shores of Ontario, in a hundred 
hamlets, in thousands of log-huts, good women 


were in sore distress of mind about their duties 
in what they had been told was a new dispen- 
sation. Meetings were held in village inns ; 
ministers were called ; religious experiences were 
compared. A great trouble fell upon the district 
— a trouble which was felt in every house ; the 
only comfort to many distracted husbands being 
a strong conviction that the world would shortly 
pass away. 

How long and loyally the Rev. Jarvis Rider 
and Miss Umphreville kept to the spirit of their 
union is not clear. Rider was the first to break 
the bond, which he did in favour of Mrs. Edwards 
of Bridgeport, on Lake Oneida, a sister in whom 
he had found a still closer affinity of soul than 
in Lucina. Then Miss Umphreville, parting from 
her first spiritual spouse, entered into the same 
kind of relation with the Rev. Charles Lovett, of 
New England fame. This preacher was from Massa- 
chusetts, and he had come among the New York 
Perfectionists as a representative of the New 
England Pauline Church. 




The second, and stronger branch of the Pauline 
Church of America, sprang into life in Massachu- 
setts, a hardier province for such a growth than 
the Lake country of New York. 

The movement began in the post township of 
Brimfield, in the hilly Hampden county, about 
seventy miles from Boston ; of which place the 
Rev. Simon Lovett and the Rev. Chauncey 
Dutton were the revival pastors. In and about 
Brimfield there happened to be then residing a 
number of clever, beautiful, and pious women. 
Clever, beautiful, and pious women are not scarce 
in New England ; but there chanced to be living 
at that time in Central Massachusetts an un- 
usual number of those bright and peerless creatures 
who have power either to save or to wreck men's 
souls. First among these female agitators stood 
two sisters, the Misses Annesley, who had come 


into this place from Albany, in New York ; bring- 
ing with them the doctrine of salvation from sin, 
together with Lucina Umphreville's theory of a 
pure and holy life. These ladies had infected many 
persons, females mostly, with their own ideas. 
Next came Miss Maria Brown, a young lady of 
good position and active mind. After her came 
Miss Abby Brown, her sister, and Miss Flavilla 
Howard, her friend. But the real mistress and 
contriver of all the mischief which befell the Saints 
in Brimfield, was Miss Mary Lincoln, a young and 
lovely girl, of high connexions, of aspiring spirit, 
and of boundless daring. 

The parents of this young lady were among 
the highest people in the place. Her father was a 
physician, a man of science, and of the world. 
The Saints of course called him an unbeliever, 
though he had always been a member in the 
Presbyterian Church. Her mother was pious, and 
Mary had been trained in the severer truths of 
her father's faith. The habits of her mind led 
her to be a seeker after light. When the Misses 
Annesley came into her neighbourhood, raising 
their testimony against sin, she went to hear 
them preach ; and, much against her fathers wish, 
became a member of the Perfect Church ; entering 


with her high spirit and dashing courage into 
every movement connected with the work of grace. 
She was so pretty, so seductive, so peremptory, 
in her ways, that people bowed to her will, and 
let her say and do things which no one else 
could have said and done. She helped to make 
piety the fashion. She rebuked the devil in high 
places. She held out her hand — a very soft hand 
— to the two preachers, the Eev. Simon Lovett and 
the Eev. Chauncey Dutton, men who were striving 
with all their might to snatch perishing souls from 
hell. Petted by these clergymen, as such a young 
ally was sure to be, she threw herself heartily into 
all their schemes. When the cross had to be borne 
she offered her neck for the burthen. When the 
world was to be defied, she stood ready to endure 
its wrath. When a witness was required against 
shame, she put herself forward for the part. Her 
father raged and mocked; but she heeded him 
not. She felt happy in this new liberty of the 
spirit, under which she could say what came 
into her head, and do what came into her heart. In 
short, she seems to have thought that the revival 
flag had been given into her hands, and that she 
had been chosen in the new heaven as Bride of 
the Lamb. 


Reports of what Lucina Umphreville was doing 
in the burnt district of New York had begun to 
excite the imaginations of these young and clever 
girls. Was Lucina the only prophetess of God? 
Could they do nothing to emulate her zeal ? Was 
no door open to them, with their willing hands and 
devoted hearts ? Were they to be dumb and silent 
in the great day ? Could they find no work in the 
Redeemer's vineyard ? Had they no stand to 
make against that world which lies in eternal 
enmity against Him ? Surely, a way could be 
found if it were hotly sought. Had not the 
promise gone forth" in the New Jerusalem : " Seek, 
and ye shall find ; knock, and the door shall be 
opened unto you ? " 

They had read the story of the Brethren 
and Sisters of the Free Spirit, which the Rev. 
James Boyle had recently brought forward as an 
example for the American Saints ; and they yearned 
to imitate the self-denial of those vigorous old 
German monks and nuns. They knew the old 
controversies of the Church on the merit of killing 
shame, and they desired to find out a way in 
which to destroy their part of that sad evidence 
of man's fall. Some of their friends, like Mrs. 
Alice Tarbell, a married and experienced lady, 


of good sense and keen perception, warned them 
against these promptings of the spirit. Alice 
was one of the saints who professed to believe in 
the new doctrines of holiness and freedom ; her 
husband was a pious deacon ; but she shunned the 
more excited class-rooms and love-feasts, and kept 
her eyes open to the facts of daily life. But the 
younger women would take no counsel save their 
own ; for they held the wisdom of the wise as dirt, 
and read their own visions and imaginations as the 
word of God. They whispered to each other about 
the duty of bearing the cross of Christ ; and 
they sought with earnest prayer for light as 
to some plan by which they might prove their 
hatred of the flesh, their contempt for law, and 
their devotedness to God. At length, some pur- 
poses began to shape themselves in the minds of 
these young women, which took the world by sur- 
prise, and called down upon them its abiding wrath. 
Those who could see into this revival camp, 
unblinded by its j^assions, were keenly alive to 
the tendency already visible among its male and 
female guards to something more than gospel 
freedom. Friendship in the Lord appeared to 
have its own set of looks and tones. Much whis- 
pering in corners, lonely walks at sundown, and 


silent recognitions, were in vogue. The brethren 
used a peculiar idiom, borrowed from the Song of 
Songs. A tender glance of the eye, and a silent 
pressure of the hand, were evidently two among 
the signs of this freemasonry of souls. All titles 
were put aside ; every man was a brother, every 
girl was a sister; except in those higher and 
nearer cases, in which the speaker seemed to 
have won the right of using a more personal 
and endearing name. When the tie between a 
preacher and his convert had become spiritually 
close, the word brother passed into Simon, the 
word sister into Mary. Here and there, a more 
advanced disciple would offer and accept, like the 
German Mucker, a holy kiss. 

Under such circumstances, what more could 
these young ladies do to defy the world and kill the 
sense of shame ? The leading ministers happened 
to be away from Brimneld. The Rev. Chauncey 
Dutton was gone to Albany for counsel with the 
Saints who had gathered around the Annesley 
circle ; the Rev. Simon Lovett was in New Haven, 
whither he had gone to consult with John H. Noyes, 
the wisest and most shining light in the revival 
host. The Rev. Tertius Strong, a very weak brother, 
was doing duty in their place. 


Noyes was known to have preached a doctrine 
about the Second Coming, of which the Pauline 
Church in Brimfield was eager to know more. This 
man had a high reputation in the schools ; for he 
had been a pupil of Andover and Yale, and was sup- 
posed to be deep in the best theological learning of 
the United States. The views which he taught 
in public were such as strike the sense, and those 
which he was said to hold in secret were such as 
rouse and fascinate the soul. His open testimony- 
was that man must be saved from sin by the power 
of faith, and by nothing else. The secret science, 
which he whispered only to the chosen few, had 
reference to the rule of marriage in the kingdom 
of God. 

In the absence of Lovett and Dutton, Mary 
Lincoln and Maria Brown put their young heads 
together and hit upon their plan. They had often 
told each other they must do something great — 
something that would strike the world — something 
that would bring upon them its wrath and scorn. 
And now was the time to act their part. 




While these young women were dreaming of 
the things they were to suffer for .God s glory, 
their pastor, Simon Lovett, came back from New 
Haven, bringmg with him John H. Noyes, the 
preacher of that new doctrine of the Second 
Coming which they were burning to hear. That 
doctrine was that the Second Coming had taken 
place — as all the Apostles had taught that it would 
take place — about forty years after His crucifixion 
in the flesh. At New Haven, Simon Lovett had 
fallen in with this view; and, being won to the 
new faith, he was anxious that Noyes should 
come over to Massachusetts and preach it to his 
Brimfield flock. 

A stir was made by his coming ; for the Be v. 
Tertius Strong had girt up his loins for battle ; 
putting on what he called his shield and buckler 
against this teaching of the New Haven school. 
On the night of Noyes' arrival, a meeting of 


the Saints was called ; the chapel-room was 
crowded to the door ; when Noyes, standing 
up, and opening the pages of his New Tes- 
tament, turned to St. Paul's Epistle to the 
Galatians, chapter fourth, and read it ; saying 
that it meant no more and no less than the words, 
in their most literal sense, conveyed. Some of the 
Saints went with him, and some stood oil! The 
Rev. Tertius • Strong, his main opponent, was the 
first to give way and admit the fact. Lovett had 
been already won. Most of the young women 
came into the truth, and the township rang with 
news of the arrival of this great message, and 
this bright messenger, to mankind. 

The Rev. John H. Noyes, the hero of this move- 
ment, saw with alarm the signs of a coining storm. 
He found that among this group of beautiful 
women, not a few of the more passionate creatures 
were falling into a state of frenzy, over which he 
feared that he could exercise no control. What 
course was he to take ? 

The habits of the place were pleasant. A bevy 
of lovely girls hung on his words, spoke to him in 
tones of affection, looked to him for that peace 
which is more precious to the soul than love. 
Some of them called him brother, some again 


ventured to call him John. The leading spirits 
were bolder still. On the lips of Maria Brown, 
he was either John, or beloved John ; on those 
of Mary Lincoln he was my brother, my beloved, 
and my dearly beloved. 

The preacher of holiness felt that in the 
presence of these seductions he was but a man, 
and liable to fall. These words of love made 
music in his ear, this pressure of soft hands shot 
warmth into his veins. In this tender society his 
soul was hardly safe. Preacher, and hero of the 
day, he was the centre of all talk, of all action, 
of all confidence, among these Saints. Every man 
came to him for counsel. Every woman brought 
him her experience. Every one sought to touch 
him in the innermost privacy of his heart. How 
could he resist that seeking smile, that tender 
grasp, that chaste salute ? Noyes went into his 
room and locked his door. All night long he 
watched and prayed. God, as he fancied, came to 
his help ; for in the darkness of midnight, as he 
lay in his lonely bed, a light was given him to see 
the danger in which he stood ; and, jumping to 
his feet, he found strength in his limbs to flee from 
this place of danger while there was yet time to 
save his soul from sin. 


Long before it was yet day, he threw on his 
clothes, crept out of the house, and found his way 
across country, without saying one word to any 
living soul in Brimfield. The month was February ; 
snow lay thick upon the ground ; and he wished to 
avoid the main road, from fear lest he should be 
followed in his flight, and persuaded to turn back. 
He took a path over hill and dale ; and facing the 
icy wind, which came from a hundred crests and 
pools, he pushed forward all day, all night, through 
the broken country, and across the Connecticut 
river, until he reached his father's house in Putney, 
Vermont, after walking through the snow, in 
twenty-four hours, a distance of sixty miles. His 
feet were bruised and swoln, but his heart was 
saved from a snare, his soul from death. 

This sudden disappearance of the New Haven 
preacher only fanned the fire at Brimfield; and 
two days after his departure from the town, Mary 
Lincoln and Maria Brown carried out a scheme, of 
which, had he remained among them, he would 
probably have been the hero. They found their 
way into the Rev. Simon Lovett's room, awoke 
him from his sleep, and suffered themselves to be 
taken in the act. 

They meant no harm, and, in a word, no harm 


was done. But the scandal raised about their 
heads was loud enough to satisfy all their craving 
for scorn and hate. Who cared to ask about results, 
when he could fasten, on such a fact ? Two young 
and lovely girls, well born, well reared, professing 
members of a church, had been found at midnight, 
bent, as it seemed, on mischief, in their pastor's 
room. That story flew like wind from Brimfield 
to Boston, from Boston to New York. An old 
custom, which exists (I believe) in Wales, as well 
as in parts of Pennsylvania and New England, 
permits, under the name of "bundling," certain 
free, but still innocent endearments to pass between 
lovers who are engaged. Some such endearments 
were supposed to have passed between the Bev. 
Simon Lovett and the two young ladies ; hence 
the bundling at Brimfield became a common 
phrase, as the fact itself was a common topic 
of conversation in the religious world. Mary Lin- 
coln and Maria Brown had their hearts' desire of 
public abuse. 

Dr. Lincoln, the high and dry physician, 
was exceedingly wroth with his daughter Mary, 
whom he charged with bringing dishonour upon 
his house. Mary could not be made to see it ; 
she said it was her cross ; she had done no 


wrong ; but her father could not understand her 
case. Dr. Lincoln carried her to the house of her 
friend, Mrs. Alice Tarbell, who took her in, and 
promised to take care of her for a little while. 
When it was known that Mary had been sent 
away from home (cast out, as they said, for 
the sake of Christ) her friends came flocking to 
her side ; Maria Brown, Abby Brown, Flavilla 
Howard, and many more ; who began to praise the 
Lord, to sing, and dance, and kiss each other in a 
frantic way. Mary told these sisters in the Lord, 
that her father was possessed by a devil ; and when 
he came to see and talk with her in Mrs. TarbeH's 
house, she smote him on the face in order to cast 
it out. Next day she left her friend Alice, and 
went to another house, with every symptom of in- 
sanity upon her. During that day she announced 
that the town of Brimfield would be burnt with 
fire, like the cities of the plain, described in the 
book of Genesis; and that all who would save 
themselves alive must fly with her to the top of a 
neighbouring hill. Maria Brown would have gone 
with her friend, but her sister Abby clung to her, 
and held her back. Mary Lincoln and Flavilla 
Howard fled alone ; and in their hurry to escape 
from the fiery hail, they threw off most of their 


€lothes, and pushed through the thick scrub, the 
heavy snow, and the dismal swamp, to the hill base. 
There they paused and prayed, when the Lord 
(as they afterwards said) hearkened to their voice, 
withheld the fires, and let the judgment pass. 

The poor girls lost their way, and wandered 
about they knew not where. Deep in the night 
they came to a farm-house, and begged a shelter 
from the biting cold. They had thrown away 
their shoes, and their clothes were torn to rags. 
Their flesh was all but frozen ; and for many days 
these hapless heroines lay in the log shanty at the 
point of death. 





Among the papers placed in my hands by American 
divines, is a confession by Father Noyes of his 
share in this Brimneld revival. Who and what 
this man is, the world is, perhaps, sufficiently 
aware : — lawyer, theologian, preacher, sinner, con- 
vertite and saint — wanderer, outcast, writer, com- 
munist — he has led a life of the most singular 
moral and religious changes. For thirty-seven 
years he has lived in the centre of revival pas- 
sions; he has an eye quick to observe, a pen 
prompt to note, the things which come before him. 
At my request he has put the following confession 
into ink : — 

"It was in February of 1835, a year after my 
conversion to holiness at New Haven, and six 
months after we commenced publishing the Per- 
fectionist, that I went up from New Haven through 


Massachusetts with Simon Lovett. He had come 
as a sort of missionary from the New York Per- 
fectionists to convert me to their ideas, and I had 
converted him to some of mine, especially to the 
New Haven doctrine of the Second Coming. He 
took me on this excursion to introduce me among 
his spiritual friends in Southampton and Brimneld. 
In both of these places there were groups of Per- 
fectionists who had received their faith from the 
New York school, through two ladies from Albany, 
the Misses Annesley. They had begun to take 
our paper (as indeed the whole New York school 
had), but had not received our doctrines. I found 
them prejudiced against our views of the Second 
Coming and other important teachings of the New 
Haven school ; and I preached what I believed 
among them with much zeal and some contention. 
Their leader, Tertius Strong, succumbed to my 
reasonings, and soon the doctrine of the Second 
Coming, and what was called the 'Eternal pro- 
mise/ were received on all sides with great en- 
thusiasm. I left them in the midst of their 
enthusiasm, and went on my way to Vermont. 
Lovett remained at Brimneld, and from him, and 
from letters of Mary Lincoln and others, I after- 
wards learned the following facts. 


"Two days after I left, Chauncey E. Dutton 
arrived from Albany. The excitement continued 
and increased. Finally, it turned from doctrines 
and assumed a social and fanatical form. Several 
young women, who were really leaders of the 
whole flock, became partially insane, and began 
to act strangely. The disorderly doings that were 
reported to me were, first, the case of ' bundling ;' 
and, second, a wild night-excursion of two young 
women to a mountain near the village. I had no 
reason to believe that any act of real licentiousness 
took place ; but that the * bundling' was per- 
formed as a bold self-sacrifice for the purpose of 
killing shame and defying public opinion. I con- 
fess that I sympathised to some extent with the 
spirit of the first letters that came to me about 
this affair, and sought to shelter rather than con- 
demn the young women who appealed to me 
against the storm of scandal which they had 
brought upon themselves. But in the sequel, as 
the irregularities continued and passed on into 
actual licentiousness, I renounced all sympathy 
with them, and did my best in subsequent years 
to stamp them out, by word and deed, and 

" I was so near being actually present at this 


affair, and as liable to be thought responsible for 
it, and implicated in it, that I must now tell more 
particularly how and why I left Brimfield. 

" From my first contact with the Massachusetts 
clique at Southampton, I had been aware of a 
seducing tendency to freedom of manners between 
the sexes. Liberties were in common use which 
were seemingly innocent, and were certainly 
pleasant, but which I soon began to suspect as 

" At Brimfield there was an extraordinary 
group of pretty and brilliant young women. By 
my position as preacher I was a sort of centre, and 
they were evidently in a progressive excitement 
over which I had no control. I became afraid of 
them and of myself. At length in my night- 
studies I got a clear view of the situation, and 
received what I believed to be 'orders' to with- 
draw. I left the next morning, alone, without 
making known my intention to any one, taking a 
1 bee line' on foot through snow and cold — below 
zero — to Putney, sixty miles distant, which I 
reached within twenty -four hours. Thus I jumped 
off the train in time to escape the smash ; and as 
I was not either conductor or engineer, I felt no 
responsibility for it, though I sympathized wilh 


the wounded and did what I could to help 

* " I will add to this narrative three letters from 
the package I received from Brimfield soon after 
the catastrophe, to show by specimen the spirit of 
the affair. The flight to the mountain is described 
in the following letter : — 


«' Brimfield, March, 1835. 
" ' Beloved John, 

" ' I write because Sister Mary Lincoln 
desires me to relate her Friday evening's adven- 
ture, for she is not able to write. During the 
afternoon of that day she heard the voice of God 
warning her to flee — escape for her life, for the 
judgments of God awaited the place. Her voice 
changed, and she was filled with power. She 
waited in Little Best (a small village in Brimfield), 
until evening, when another dear sister felt drawn 
to follow her — Flavilla Howard. Others doubted, 
thinking her crazy. She left there and came to our 
house, Sisters Flavilla and Abby with her. Before 
she got here she was drawn another way, but she 
wanted me to accompany her. She felt that this 


was against the leadings of the Spirit. I was 
drawn to Sister Mary, but Abby clung to me and 
wept, saying this would kill her. The dear girls 
left me and went on, and none of our folks were 
led to go after them. Some of the Saints were at 
our house, but all were prevented going after them, 
for some wise purpose. The night was dark. They 
went across the meadows through water and mud 
to escape the pursuers (for the people were in 
search of her). She felt that the clothes she had 
with her and those she had on, were a burthen. 
She laid them all aside. They then escaped to the 
west mountain, and when there she felt that she 
received the wrath of God which awaited the 
people — she suffered for the saints ; but they made 
the woods ring with their loud hallelujahs to the 
saint. She then felt willing to return, but knew 
not which course to take. It rained, and she had no- 
thing on save her dress and thin cape, without shoes. 
She threw her dress over her head that Sister 
Flavilla might see, and went over rocks, ploughed 
ground — each step sinking in the mire — through 
bush, brooks, and mud-holes, sometimes carrying 
her sister, and arrived at a house about a mile 
distant from ours at eleven o'clock, after travelling 
six miles. She returned home in the morning, and 


is now scarcely able to walk. Her friends think 
her crazy. The Saints have all turned against us, 
thinking we are led by the devil. They will turn 
back and begin where they left off when you were 
here. They pierce Jesus in us, but how long they 
will do so I know not. I will, and can bear it in 
silence until the Almighty shuts the mouth of the 
vile accusers. We hold up the liberty of the 
kingdom, but they think it of the devil. I am not 
considered crazy, but vile. It is all right, and I 
can say Amen. 

" ' Maria/ 

" Mary B. Lincoln, who was really the leader 
and master-spirit in the Brimfield emeute, was a 
daughter of a respectable physician moving in 
good society ; young, beautiful, and attractive. 
Her letters show that her spirit was powerful 
and aspiring enough to have made her either an 
Ann Lee or a Joan of Arc. You will observe 
signs, slight in the first letter, more decisive in 
the second, of the presence of the ' whp-shall- 
be-greatest' mania. Mary carried the flag, and 
thought she was to be the foremost champion 
of God. Her delusions did not pass away. She 
chose, and married Chauncey E. Dutton. They 


circulated as spiritual leaders in New York and 
elsewhere for awhile, and finally became flaming 
Millerites. I had a letter of warning from her, 
dated March 1843, calling on me to prepare for 
the end of the world. They both died long ago. 


" ' The New Jerusalem. 

" ' Beloved, dearly Beloved, 

" ' After bleeding, blistering, and scourging, 
my strength is almost exhausted. The little that 
remains I will devote to those who are dearer to 
me than life. I know you love me and all the 
dear people here, and to hear from any of us will 
bless you, and a few lines from me will not be 
less acceptable for being penned with a trembling 
hand. I have been very sick. Life has been 
almost extinct in me a number of times. I am 
still weak, but strong enough to declare the 
eternal victory of the spirit that dwelleth within. 
Though temptations and trials of every kind 
thicken around me, and my spirit has often been 
weighed down by the tears and entreaties of 
those who love me, yet I have not been left to 
deny the faithfulness of my Father by retracing 


a step of the way I have taken. I know in whom 
I have believed. The everlasting Father has 
married me to Himself in a covenant that is 
stronger than death. Satan may rage and at- 
tempt to deceive, but his last mask is on. His 
time is short. 

" ' You know not the. stir in this place the Lord 
has made through Sisters Maria, Flavilla,, and me. 
The accuser presents himself in every form to us, 
but he is cast down. Christ gives power through 
innocency to bind all who doubt us, and there are 
none here who do not doubt. I am blessed with 
speaking boldly about the work in my own soul. I 
have no mock humility that will lead me to secrete 
any of my Father's kindness to me or any of His 
dear children. I am not afraid or ashamed to 
receive the sons of God into my bosom, and love 
them before the world, pleading for the insulted, 
injured spirit of our Father in them. It is not 
enough that we speak for God in Jesus or Brother 
Paul. The devil would love to have us stop here ; 
but it is for me to stand by Brothers John, Simon, 
and Chauncey, and throw my arms round lovely 
Maria and Flavilla, the sweet angel that forsook 
all to go with me into the mountain ! Sister 
Maria has related this trial to you. My Father 


led me there to be crucified. I am not ashamed 
of it, neither does it bow me down. The victory- 
He has given me since exceeds all that I before 
experienced. I see a great deal of company, 
testifying almost unceasingly. All are bound 
before me. Smith, the Universalist of Hartford, 
called to see me. Had sweet liberty in talking. 
He is a sweet little sinner, and I very affec- 
tionately told him who his father was [i.e. the 
devil]. He thought me a wonder. 

" ' The Saints here wear very long faces. Fear 
has taken hold of them — the fear to cross the 
lives of wicked, vile men. I feel that the Lord 
will lead His children to cross them, and so upset 
the polluted government of our nation ; but if 
God has ordained otherwise, I shall rejoice. Gladly 
would I be anything and everything that I might 
win souls. He has prepared me to stand unawed 
before assembled millions, to tell the simple story 
of a dying Saviour s love, shedding the same tears 
that our elder Brothers shed over Jerusalem. But 
if God has declared war we will say Amen. 
Eighteen hundred years ago, God said, " Tis peace 
on earth;" but men have dared to throw the lie 
into the great Jehovah's face. His long-suffering 
we adore, and if His justice cuts off the wicked 


now, the eternal region shall sing with our hal- 
lelujahs to it. Amen, Amen. 



" ' Mount Sion, Eternity. 
" ' My Brother, 

" ' Your spirit being the only one in the 
clay in which mine finds rest, you will not think 
it strange that I write you so soon again. My 
soul goes out after some mighty spirit in which it 
may hide itself awhile from the storm. Through 
the kindness of our Father, many and mighty are 
my trials just now. The devil never spited me as 
he now does, for I see his art, and fear not to 
unmask him. I have seen the man of sin revealed 
in the Perfectionists, in the building up of the 
Jewish temple, and most manifest where its adorn- 
ing is most lovely. Is it not so? Has not God 
laid it even with the dust, and can aught but 
Satan rebuild it? Has not God pronounced a 
woe upon it ? And shall not we, His children, say 
Amen ? I still try the Saints here. They say that 
I am taking steps that another has not. I know 
that my steps in the desert are not in the sand : 


and if the Lord leads me in untrodden paths, I 
shall go praising the God of Israel who is my guide. 
I feel that He has led me past all but you, for He 
will not permit me to have fellowship with any 
other, but strengthens me with communion with 
the spirits of the air. Yes, my brother, soon God 
in me will stand in front of the battle. He is 
mastering my strength by His burning love to war 
with hell's blackest fuiy. God has shown me by 
His wisdom, that by the artlessness of females the 
armies of the aliens would be put to flight, and the 
victory won. God has chosen weak things tc 
confound the wise. Through Eve the war began ; 
through Eves it is continued ; through them it 
will be closed, and a declaration of Eternal Inde- 
pendence made to the joy of all who sign it. You 
see " I am for war." God has armed me hi a 
manner that the world thinks does not become a 
once timid female ; but according to the gift I 
now receive, I act. When it pleases my Father to 
make me more lovely, I shall be pleased to be so. 
I feel that His work, through me, will be short and 
mighty. My spirit is becoming too powerful for 
its habitation. I stand almost alone here. Many 
doubt me, and yet God has given me power over 
all the Saints. I have as much liberty in meeting, 


and am as much at home as in my father's kitchen. 
The last one that I was at, the Lord led me and 
Sister Maria, and Samuel T. to walk the floor, sing 
" Woe, woe to Babylon," and talk and laugh as 
much as we had a mind to. It was a trial to some 
of them, but they could not help themselves. The 
Lord gave me perfect power over them all in so 
doing. I told them I should talk all night, if the 
Lord led me to. Most of them are following after ; 
God is leading them into the truth, yet they do 
not know it. Deacon Tarbell is much blessed, 
Sister Hannah is very sweet, and Sister Maria is 
very strong and bold. 


" To complete the history of the Brimfield affair, 
I will add that, besides sending its seeds into New 
York, it was partially reproduced in New Haven. 
Lovett and Dutton circulated there ; and spiritual 
mating had its run there, as at Brimfield and 
elsewhere. Whether there was any bundling I 
cannot say; I never resided in New Haven, 
except on occasional visits, after I left with Lovett 
in 1835. Elizabeth Hawley, who was in the midst 
of the New Haven intrigues, says in a letter to 
me, ' Simon Lovett first brought the doctrine of 


Spiritual Wifehood among New Haven Perfection- 
ists, after his bundling with Mary Lincoln and 
Maria Brown at Brimfield. He claimed Abby 
Fowler (a very estimable young woman of New 
Haven) as his spiritual wife, and got her. She 
died not long after of consumption. Simon then 
married Abby Brown, sister of Maria, at Brimfield. 
Terens Fowler, brother of Abby, married Miss 
Tarbell of Brimfield, under the idea that she was 
his Spiritual Wife. 

"JohnH. Noyes." 




From the day on which the New York Saints 
sought fellowship with their New England friends, 
the spirit of Mary Lincoln and Maria Brown ap- 
pears to have passed into the colder children of 
Lucina Umphreville, and even into that prophetess 

Mary Lincoln, on recovering from her sickness, 
came into the theory of Spiritual husbands and 
Spiritual wives, as this theory had been taught 
from Salina by the Rev. Erasmus Stone. She 
found, however, that the Rev. Chauncey Dutton, 
not the Eev. Simon Lovett, the hero of her Brim- 
field scandal, was her natural mate. Hand in 
hand Mary and Dutton travelled through the 
country, staying with those who would receive 
them, preaching to such as would come and hear. 
They affected to travel as they said St. Paul had 
travelled with his female comforter. The passions, 


which were condemned in all men, were in their 
own persons crucified and dead. Brit in the end, 
these hot reformers of a carnal world came under 
bonds so far as to be duly married in the church. 

Maria Brown went over to New York ; where 
she sought the friendship and guidance of Lucina 
Umphreville, and kept herself free from many of 
the delusions into which her old friends and neigh- 
bours felL The Rev. Jarvis Rider, parting from 
his Shaker-like bride, found in a married sister, 
the wife of Thomas Chapman, of Bridgeport, on 
Oneida Lake, a woman of yet closer spiritual 
affinities to himself. Mrs. Chapman was a young 
and pretty woman, who was liked by every one 
for her charming ways and her kindness of heart. 
An early convert to holiness, she had always been 
a pillar of the church, and her house had been 
open at all times to the Saints. When Maria 
Brown came on a visit to the Lake district, Mrs. 
Chapman invited her to stay at Bridgeport; and 
not only Maria Brown, but Lucina Umphreville, 
together with the Rev. Jarvis Rider and the Rev. 
Charles Lovett. Chapman, her legal husband, 
being engaged in digging the Chenango Canal, 
was a good deal from home ; but he felt such 
confidence in his fellow-saints, that he gave them 


perfect liberty in his house. Rider took advantage 
■of this confidence to persuade Mrs. Chapman that 
she was his second self, his natural mate, and his 
destined bride in the future world. On finding 
such a pretension raised, Lucina Umphreville not 
only gave up all her own claims on Rider, but 
sanctioned, as it seems, the pleas which he had 
now put forth to a special claim on the soul of 
Mrs. Chapman. The woman, persuaded by her 
clerical guests, consented to accept the position of 
Rider's spiritual wife. 

In like manner, the Rev. Charles Lovett pro- 
posed a spiritual union with Lucina ; when the 
woman who had been deserted by Rider gave 
herself away into a second, and a happier heavenly 

Maria Brown sat by, alone, content to be 

When Thomas Chapman came home from his 
labour on the canal, and heard what had been 
dore in his absence by these Saints, he knocked 
the Rev. Jars^is Rider down, kicked him black and 
blue, and thrust him out into the lane. His rage 
was violent, but its force soon died away. How 
he became reconciled to the preacher of Spiritual 
wifehood I cannot pretend to say. Men, who do 


not seem to me crazy, tell me that Chapman, when 
he raised his hand against the revival preacher, 
was stricken blind ; not in a mystical and moral 
sense of the word, bnt that he really and com- 
pletely lost his sight. One man tells me that 
Chapman went to New York to consult an 
oculist, and did not recover the use of his eyes 
for many months. In this affliction he begged the 
reverend gentleman's pardon, called him back into 
the house, and threw himself on the floor in 
agonies of shame for having dared to assert his 
carnal mind in opposition to the will of God. 
Still, when his eyes were better, he got rid of his 
saintly guests, left the place of Ms shame, and 
separated from his wife. Rider forgot his affinity 
for the cast-away wife, and Mrs. Chapman being 
a woman of delicate constitution, this strife be- 
tween her husband in the flesh and her partner 
in the spirit, put an end to her life. 

In the meantime, Noyes had been quietly 
preparing to launch on the world his own theory 
of Spiritual wifehood. In his sermons he had 
often hinted his dislike to the present system of 
legal marriage, and of family life, as not being 
sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. At length he put 
the germ of his system into a letter, dated January 


15, 1837, and addressed to David Harrison, of 
Meriden, in Connecticut. A copy of this epistle 
fell into the hands of Theophilus R. Gates, of 
Philadelphia, who was then editing The Battle 
Axe ; and in this periodical, the letter now known 
as the Battle Axe Letter, and which claims to be 
the Magna Charta of Pauline Socialism, first saw 
the light of day. 

the battle-axe letter. 

" Dear Brother, 

" Though the vision tarry long, wait ; it 
will come. I need not tell you why I have 
delayed writing so long, and why I am in the 
same circumstances as when we were together. 
I thank God that I have the same confidence 
for you as myself. I have fully discerned the 
beauty, and drank the spirit, of Habakkuk's re- 
solution, ' Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, 
neither shall fruit be in the vines ; the labour of 
the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no 
meat ; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, 
and there shall be no herd in the stalls : yet 
I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God 
of my salvation/ Yea, brother, I will rejoice 


in the Lord, though He slay me, yet will I trust 
in Him. The present winter is doubtless a time 
of sore tribulation to many. I see the Saints 
laying off and on like the distressed ships at the 
entrance of New York harbour, waiting for pilots ; 
and I would advise them all, if I could, to make 
a bold push, and ' run in ' at all events. 

"For one, I have passed the Hook — my soul 
is moored with an anchor sure and steadfast — 
the anchor of hope ; and I am willing to do what 
I can as a pilot to others : yea, I will lay down 
my life for the brethren. 

"As necessity is the mother of invention, so 
it is the mother of faith. I therefore rejoice in 
the necessity which will ere long work full 
confidence in God, such confidence as will permit 
Him to save His people in a way they have not 
known ! In the meantime my faith is growing 
exceedingly. I know that the things of which 
we communed at New Haven will be accom- 
plished. Of the times and seasons I know nothing. 
During my residence at Newark my heart and 
mind were greatly enlarged. I had full leisure 
to investigate the prophecies, and came to many 
conclusions of like importance to those which in- 
terested us at New Haven. The substance of 


all is, that God is about to set a throne on His 
footstool, and heaven and earth, i.e. all spiritual 
and political dynasties, will flee away from the 
face of Him that shall sit thereon. The righteous 
will be separated from the wicked by the opening 
of the books and the testimony of the saints. 
' The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house 
of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for 
stubble. . . . Saviours shall come up on Mount Zion 
to judge the mount of Esau ; and the kingdom 
shall be the Lord's! — Obadiah, 18, 21. Between 
this present time and the establishment of God's 
kingdom over the earth, lies a chaos of confusion, 
tribulation, woe, etc., such as must attend the 
destruction of the fashion of this world, and the 
introduction of the will of God as it is done in 

"For the present, a long race and a hard 
warfare is before the saints, i.e. an opportunity 
and demand for faith — one of the most precious 
commodities of heaven. Only let us lay fast hold 
of the hope of our calling ; let us set the Lord 
and His glory always before our face, and we 
shall not be moved. I thank God that you have 
fully known my manner of life, faith, purpose, 
afflictions, etc., to the end that you may rest in 


the day of trouble ; for I say to you before God, 
that though I be weak in Christ I know I shall 
live by the power of God toward you and all 
saints. I am holden up by the strength that, 
is needed to sustain not my weight only, but the^ 
weight of all who shall come after me. I will 
write all that is in my heart on one delicate sub- 
ject, and you may judge for yourself whether it 
is expedient to show this letter to others. When 
the will of God is done on earth as it is in heaven,, 
there will be no marriage. The marriage-supper 
of the Lamb is a feast at which every dish is. 
free to every guest. Exclusiveness, jealousy, quar- 
relling, have no place there, for the same reason 
as that which forbids the guests at a thanksgiving ■ 
dinner to claim each his separate dish, and quarrel 
with the rest for his rights. In a holy community 
there is no more reason why sexual intercourse- 
should be restrained by law, than why eating and 
drinking should be ; and there is as little occasion 
for shame in the one case as in the other. God' 
has placed a wall of partition between the male 
and female during the apostasy for good reasons,, 
which will be broken down in the resurrection 
for equally good reasons ; but woe to him who 
abolishes the law of apostasy before he stands. 


in the holiness of the resurrection. The guests 
of the marriage supper may have each his 
favourite dish, each a dish of his own procuring, 
and that without the jealousy of exclusiveness. 
I call a certain woman my wife ; she is yours ; 
she is Christ's ; and in Him she is the bride of 
all saints. She is dear in the hands of a stranger, 
and according to my promise to her I rejoice. 
My claim upon her cuts directly across the 
marriage covenant of this world, and God knows 
the end. Write, if you wish to hear from me. 

" Yours in the Lord." 

The publication of this document made a noise 
in the Church hardly less loud than the Brimfield 
affair had made in the world : the fruits of it 
are found at Wallingford and Oneida Creek. 



All these members of the Pauline Church, and 
nearly all these advocates of Spiritual wifehood, pre- 
tend to find some sanction for their doctrine in the 
teaching and the practice of St. Paul. They say St. 
Paul had felt that mystic companionship of male 
•and female in the Lord which Lucina Umphre- 
ville made known to the Saints of New York, 
which Father Noyes has carried out in his Bible 
Families at Wallingford and Oneida Creek, and 
which Warren Chace describes as the only bond 
uniting a spiritual husband to a spiritual wife. 

Paul, it is commonly said, was not a married 
man ; not married, that is, in the carnal sense 
before the law ; yet he would seem, from his own 
epistle to the saints at Corinth, to have been ac- 
companied on his journey by a woman who was 
a daily helper in his work. In terms which no one 
has yet been able to explain away, and which, 


since all our churches are drawing more and more 
upon the Pauline writings, they hold that men 
should try to understand, St. Paul affirmed his 
right to the fellowship of this female partner 
against those cynics and scorners in the infant 
church who made his personal conduct matter of 
reproach. What was this woman's relation to 
St. Paul ? Was she his wife ? Was she one who 
stood to him in the place of a wife ? Was she as a 
sister only? The Greek word (1 Cor. ix. 5) by 
which the apostle names her — gynaika — means 
either wife or woman, like the French word femme, 
and the German word frau. From the earliest 
times in which critics wrote, men have been divided 
in opinion as to the sense in which the term adel- 
phen gynaika was used by Paul. Clement of Alex- 
andria seems to have assumed that Paul would not 
have taken a female companion with him on his 
travels unless she had been his wife. Tertullian, on 
the other side, asserts that the woman who went 
about with him was not his wife, but a holy sister, 
who travelled with him from place to place, doing 
just that kind of work in the early Church which 
only a woman can effect. Which is the truth ? 

All critics conclude, for the text is plain so far, 
that Paul and Barnabas claimed the privilege of 


keeping the company of certain holy women, with 
whom they appear to have lodged and lived. That 
the connexion between these men and women 
was, in their own belief, free from blame, no one 
will doubt ; but the facts which must have placed 
this connexion beyond the reach of honest, open 
censure, are not so clear. One word from Paul to 
the effect that the parties were married would 
have silenced every tongue ; but Paul did not 
speak, and did not write that word. What, then, 
are we to infer from his silence ? The loud voice 
of antiquity asserts that Paul was a single man. 
Paul himself tells us that he was accompanied, 
and had a right to be accompanied, by a female 
friend. What then ? 

The early Fathers of the Church had to meet 
a question which most of our writers on St. Paul 
have agreed to shirk. Hilary and Theophy- 
lactus, writing in distant countries and distant 
periods, describe the two apostles, Paul and Bar- 
nabas, as being attended by rich women, whom 
they had converted, and whose duty it was to cook 
for them and comfort them, as well as to carry the 
gospel light into the harems of princes and wealthy 
persons. This view, I think, is that adopted by 
the Church. Clement himself, though he says these 


women were married to the Apostles, seems to 
think that they went about with their apostolic 
husbands, not as wives in the flesh, but as sisters 
in the spirit. Thus we are driven back upon the 
text, which tells us little, and on the biographers 
of Paul, who tell us less. 

Our usual renderings of the Greek term, by 
which St. Paul denotes this partner of his toils, 
extend the meaning so as to make him describe 
the connexion as chaste and holy. Thus, the Latin 
Vulgate makes St, Paul speak of his partner as 
mulierem sororem, a form which has been copied 
with only slight variations into many tongues. 
The Italian version gives it as donna sorella ; the 
Brussells version reads, une femme qui soit notre 
sosur (en) Jesus Christ; the French Protestant 
version, une femme dent re nos sceurs ; the Spanish 
version, una muger hermana ; the Portuguese, 
huma mulher irmd. Luther renders the word by 
eine Schivester zum weibe. Our English versions 
lean to the same conclusion. Wycliffe translates 
gynaika " a womman, a sister ; " Tyndal, " a sister 
to wife ;" the Genevans, "a wife being a sister ;" 
and the authorized translators, " a sister, a wife." 
But this has not been always done. Some of the 
earliest and some of the latest writers on St. Paul 


have taken the other sense ; reading the Greek 
text as they would have read any other, by plain 
and open rules. Clement of Alexandria classes 
Paul with Peter and Philip as the three married 
apostles; Conybeare translates adelphen gynaika 
into " a believing wife," and Stanley into " a Chris- 
tian woman as a wife." 

The Pauline churches of Massachusetts and 
New York have found an easy way through what 
has proved so hard a path to scholars in Europe and 
Asia. They pretend that St. Paul lived with the 
woman who travelled with him in grace, and not 
in law ; in a word, that he was to her a spiritual 
husband, that she was to him a spiritual wife. 

Is it not strange that a thousand and one 
writers on the life of St. Paul should have 
shirked this deeply interesting question of his 
relation to his female companion ? Yet this is the 
singular fact. Conybeare and Howson have not a 
word to say about it ; Whitby has an unmeaning 
note, in which he says that either Paul had a wife, 
or Barnabas had a wife, or one of these Apostles 
might have had a wife, since no law forbade him to 
marry if he had so pleased. The writers in Smith's 
Bible Dictionary, and in Kitto's Encyclopaedia of 
Biblical Literature, are equally reserved. Is this 


strange silence wise ? What is to be gained for 
the Church by clouding this central fact in the 
great Apostle's life ? 

The Saints of New York find the same sort of 
Spiritual love between men and women in the 
Agapse, those Feasts of Love which are so fre- 
quently mentioned both by friends and enemies of 
the early Church. 

Hardly any subject connected with the plant- 
ing of Christianity is obscured by darker clouds 
than the origin and history of the Agapse ; yet 
enough, they urge, is known to prove that the 
Feasts of Love were the results of a new sym- 
pathy having been introduced by the Church into 
the relations of sex and sex. 

They say the social order founded in Judea 
was, in part at least, communistic ; the religious 
order being made to complete, and perhaps to 
supersede, that old political and domestic order 
which admitted of private property and personal 
wives. Life in the Church was offered for accep- 
tance as a higher form of spiritual perfectness 
than life in the family ; a proposition which, being 
assumed and granted, it is easy to urge that the 
terms brother and sister in the faith expressed 
a nobler relation than those of husband and wife. 


It is safe to say that no such doctrines can be 
found in either the Sermon on the Mount or any 
other teaching of our Lord, except so far as the 
commands to love one another, to give alms to the 
poor, to speak well of all men, to prefer the gifts 
of heaven to those of earth, and to bear ail things 
for the meek and lowly, can be made to look like 
communism. These Pauline churches urge, that it 
is clear, from the doctrine taught by the Apostles 
after Pentecost, that these young reformers thought 
good to abolish private property in favour of the 
church, and that for a while, in a narrow zone, 
they met with some success. " The earth," they 
said, " is the Lord's." In the old times man had 
held his property in trust, but the trust was ended, 
since the Lord had come in person to possess His 
own. All monies were to become as the sacred 
shekel, which men could no longer use for their 
private need. 

Most of these young reformers of family life 
had been pupils of the Essenes before they be- 
came believers in our Lord ; of those Essenes who 
had dwelt in ravines of the wilderness, in dry and 
desert places, among the limestone rocks above 
Jericho and Engedi; and who not only held strange 
doctrines as to love and marriage, but taught 


that all the children of God should feed from 
the same store, and have all their goods in common. 
John the Baptist had lived among these Essenes 
and learned their doctrine. Peter, John, and 
Andrew, young men from Capernaum, who be- 
came founders of Jewish Christianity, had been 
the Baptist's hearers. An Essenic spirit dis- 
played itself in every act of the infant Church ; 
the Apostles taking that counsel of our Lord to 
a rich man tempted by his wealth, " If thou wilt 
be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give 
to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in 
heaven/' as a rule for all. In their eyes, private 
wealth was not only a snare to the soul, — such as 
love, rank, beauty, power, health, in fact any earthly 
good, might become, in its abuse — but a thing 
stolen from God, and consequently accursed in 
itself, and incompatible with a holy life. There- 
fore, say the brethren of Mount Lebanon, and 
the Bible families of Oneida Creek, the Apostles 
put it down. Did they also meddle with the 
relations of man and wife ? The American saints 
say boldly, yes ; they introduced, in their Agapse, 
that spiritual wedlock which is now being revived 
in the Christian Church. 




What were those Agapge ? Were they, as the 
heathen said, but a new form of idolatry, a faint 
image of the banquets held by the Greeks in 
honour of their gods ? 

We hear that they were social gatherings of 
the faithful, who met either in each other's houses, 
when they were rich, or in such chapels and syna- 
gogues as they could then command. We know 
that they were attended by men and women, 
and that the male and female saints had the 
privilege of saluting each other with a holy kiss. 
We know that these meetings were festive ; that 
they were enlivened by singing and playing ; that 
they were called indifferently Feasts of Love and 
Feasts of Charity ; and that they bore in their 
outward form only too close a resemblance to 
some of those Pagan rites, of no decent origin, 
in which many of the converts had been trained. 



The song, the feast, and the fraternal kiss, lent 
ready hints for a Pagan sneer ; and the AgapaB 
were ridiculed by philosophers and cynics, long 
before the day arrived for their suppression by an 
outraged Church. 

Of course, in judging the Agapse it is not 
right that we should follow the many accusa- 
tions of their Gentile foes. If much was said 
against them by heathen writers, much was 
offered in their defence by the Greek Fathers. 
Tertullian, Felix, Origen, stood by them, first 
and last ; champions of whom any cause might 
well be proud. Yet, the main facts on re- 
cord about them remain. They fell away from 
their purity ; they took a Pagan taint ; the fra- 
ternal kiss became carnal; in speech, if not in 
conduct, they incurred the suspicion of licentious- 
ness ; and the Church, though she covered them 
against assaults from without, had in the long run 
to put them down, in order to preserve her own 
good name. 

What was the cause, what the occasion, of 
this suppression by the Church of a feast which 
many persons connected very closely with the 
Last Supper ? 

At first, there can be no doubt that these 


Agapse were free from offence. It is true 
that they had been conceived in a communistic 
spirit; that they sought to place the life of a 
believer above the life of a non-believer; and to 
absorb the sentiment of home in the sentiment 
of the Church. The gathering of the faithful 
was to supersede the gathering of . the tribe. 
Dinner was to rise into a sacrament ; and the 
feast of the brethren was to take the place pre- 
viously occupied by the family meal. Brethren 
and sisters in the Lord were to meet in either 
the guest-room of the house or in the aisle of the 
church ; they were to spread out the meats and 
drinks which they had brought with them ; they 
were to sing a hymn of praise and joy together ; 
they were then to call in the poor, the lame, and 
the old ; they were to sit down at table, rich 
and poor, healthy and sick, together ; they were 
to tell each other of the Lord's doings in their 
own souls ; they were to call for lamps when 
the night came down ; they were to wash hands, 
and to kiss each other, male and female, with 
a holy kiss. The feast was to begin with psalms 
and end with prayer. " This Love-feast," said 
Tertullian, " is a support of love, a solace of purity, 
a check on riches, a discipline of weakness." In 


the early days of our religion, this praise was 
undoubtedly well acquired; for the Agapse did 
some good that could hardly have been achieved 
by any other means. They made men act like 
brethren. They brought a spirit of practical 
friendship into the new society ; and set a 
permanent, pattern of equality in the presence of 
God. What more they did, of a kind which the 
Church could not finally indorse, is matter of 
suspicion only. It would seem to have been 
understood that the brethren and sisters in these 
Agapse were bound together by a closer tie than 
that which had previously linked the members 
of an ordinary Jewish and Pagan household ; 
though the new bond of union was probably 
recognised in a mystical rather than in a carnal 

These feasts were held on three occasions, if 
not on more, — the celebration of a marriage, the 
solemnity of a funeral, the anniversary of a 
martyrdom. In the first and second cases, they 
were given in private homes; in the third case, 
either in the church, or in the precincts of a 
church. The first was gay, the second serious, the 
third both. In all there were eating, drinking, 
singing, kissing. In the Love -feasts kept in 


honour of the martyrs, a peculiar sentiment was 
developed ; for all the Saints who took part in 
them were mystically supposed to become of one 
kindred in the Lord ; brothers and sisters, standing 
towards each other in closer relation than those of 
ordinary husbands and wives. 

Soon, too soon, these meetings fell into abuse. 
The holy kiss became a cover for unholy thoughts, 
and the feast in which every one was to break 
bread with his fellow, declined into a licentious 
orgy. In vain the Church essayed to stem the 
liberty of fraternal kissing, and to crush the 
excesses in meat and wine. An old rule, preserved 
for us in Athenagoras, laid it down, that if any con- 
vert should kiss a woman a second time, because 
he found it pleasant, the act was sin. The chaste 
salutation, it was said, should be given with the 
greatest care ; for if any impure thought was in 
the heart, while the lips were pressed, the kiss 
became adultery, and put the soul in peril of eter- 
nal fires. Athenagoras quotes this rule together 
with the gloss upon it from Holy Writ, in which 
they are not to be found. Perhaps they figured in 
some lost writing, which the Greek Church desired 
to impose on the people as of equal authority with 
Holy Writ. The rule itself implies a change of 


manners, and its citation, in a formal defence of 
Christian practice, hints the general suspicion in 
which the Agapse had then come to be held, at 
least in Greece. 

How, indeed, could these Feasts of Love escape 
suspicion, when men who had been worshippers 
of Baal and Aphrodite came into union with the 
saints? In the temples of Corinth and Antioch, 
these men and women had been familiar from their 
youth with seductive and immoral rites ; the old 
leaven seems to have forced itself into the new 
societies ; and even while the Apostles yet lived, 
those evils had begun to appear, which at a later 
period compelled the reforming leaders to prohibit 
the celebration of Love-feasts in the Church. St. 
Paul complained to his friends of Corinth, that in 
these Agapae they gorge and drink, while they 
neglect to invite the poor. One sees from his 
anger, that in Greece the converts kept to their 
habit of indulging in the old Sophist's supper, 
on pretence of holding the Love-feast of a new 
dispensation. St. Peter and St. Jude, as well as 
St. Paul, proclaimed the abuses to which the 
Agapse had already given rise in their day. 

But the abuse of a dear privilege, say the 
American Saints, does not imply its abandonment 


for ever. If the Feast of Love were good in the 
Apostolic times, it must be so in every age which 
shall resemble the Apostolic times. God loves and 
rewards His children according to the measure of 
their virtue. That which is wrong in a state of 
nature may be perfectly right in a state of grace. 




A rage for special and unlawful friendships be- 
tween the male and female saints had been long 
familiar to sage American pastors, as one of the 
bad growths to be expected in the revival field. 
I shall cite two little histories of this passion. 

The first story is that of Elder Moore. 

Elder Moore, of Spring Street Church, in New 
York city, a shining light among the Presbyterian 
flock, in speaking of his religious trials to George 
Cragin, of the New York Moral Reform Society, 
described the effect of his ghostly wrestlings with 
repentant sinners on his own affections. One of 
Moore's penitents was a young lady named 
Miss Harding, the daughter of rich and worldly 
people, who had brought her up to the enjoyment 
of music, dancing, comedies, dinners, dress, and 
horses. On these passing vanities her mind was 
fixed, to the grievous peril of her immortal soul. 


By chance she became a visitor in his class ; her 
manner pleased him ; and he felt his heart yearn 
softly towards the rich and lovely girl. At the 
close of his exercises she was deeply moved ; she 
seemed to be asking in her silence for a little help. 
Taking her hand in his, Moore said to her : " If you 
go on, I will help you in my prayers." From that 
moment she had a place in his thoughts, from which 
she could not be driven away. Her name was 
on his lips when he rose, and when he lay down. 
A tender bond grew up between them, for when 
he strove with God on her behalf, a feeling sprang 
into his heart akin to that which he felt a man 
must have for a sister, for a spouse. Being a 
single man, Moore led in the great city a lonely 
and gloomy life. Cragin met him one day in the 
street, and seeing him radiant with unusual joy, 
accosted him. "She has triumphed!" said the 
elder. " Have you seen her, then ? " asked Cragin, 
who thought his friend unlikely to have ventured 
to her house. " No," said Moore. " Heard from 
her?" "Not one word," he answered with a 
smile ; " but I am sure that what I say is true." 
That night a meeting was held for prayer in 
Spring Street Church, to which Miss Harding 
came, and told him the story of her call. As she 


dwelt on the struggles in her soul — through which 
she had passed to victory, Cragin smiled ; her tale 
was a perfect copy of what he had been told in 
the street by Moore. For the moment these two 
persons had been drawn together so close, that 
they seemed to have but one nervous system. 

Moore professed to have had many such pass- 
ages of the Spirit ; this dark and celibate man, 
unlovely in his person and his life, enjoying a 
glorious sense of celestial bridals with a host of 
fair and penitent women. One day, a peculiar 
feeling came upon him, for which nothing, either 
in the circumstances or in his state of mind, 
could fairly account. The Lords Supper was 
being observed in Spring Street Church, and as 
one of the elders he was engaged in distributing 
the bread and wine. More than the usual crowd 
were present, for several young men and women, 
newly brought in, were to take their first sacra- 
ment that day. As he moved about the church, 
he became conscious of a singular swelling in his 
heart. His pulse beat quicker, his eyes opened 
wider. All through the morning he had been happy 
in his work, and blessed with a delicious sense of 
peace. Why was he now disturbed with so strange 
a joy? He longed to embrace the brethren; to 


throw himself into the sisters' arms. He felt a 
strange love for the young girls who were kneeling 
at his feet, and taking from his fingers the bread 
and wine. This love, he knew, was like the love 
which he felt for his heavenly Father. It sprang 
from the earth, but it knew no taint of sin. He 
felt that, in a mystical way, every one of these 
fair penitents was to him, in that moment, as a 
sister and a spouse. 

That day's experience of the Lords Supper 
set the elder thinking on the love which is sym- 
bolised by bread and wine, and wondering whether 
a time would ever come when these symbols would 
be replaced by another type. 

The second story is that of the Rev. John B. 

Foot, a young man of high promise, had been 
for some time a student of William's College, 
Williamstown, Massachusetts, when the fierce re- 
vival of 1832 broke out; and Dr. Griffin, a 
preacher of extraordinary force, who came to 
labour among the college pupils, had set his heart 
on fire. Foot was converted to a sense of his 
lost condition. Eight or ten of his companions 
answered, like himself, to the preacher's call ; 
they met for prayer in their own rooms ; they 


held forth in public ; they quitted the college, 
without waiting to complete their course; they 
began to travel about the country, calling on 
the people to flee from the wrath to come. 
Gifted with powers of speech, Foot became a 
shining light in the city street, and in the forest 
camp ; few of the young revival preachers having 
more to say, or knowing better how to fire the 
souls of shepherds and woodmen. On the wild 
skirts of Ohio, among the rude squatters in the 
backwood, he made for himself a name of note. 
Growing in grace as he grew in years, he be- 
came a convert to Hiram Sheldon's doctrine of 
salvation from sin, and to the social theory which 
seems to have been connected in. every man's 
mind with that doctrine of the final establish- 
ment of heaven on earth. The Rev. Charles 
Mead, his friend and fellow-preacher, went along 
with him in his course; rousing the rough 
squatters into fervour, and calling down the 
blessings of all good men upon their work. 

Six years after this conversion to holiness, the 
two reverend gentlemen, Foot and Mead, being 
out in what was then the Far West, paid a 
visit to Foot's married sister, a woman who was 
working with them in the spirit. Mead and this 


lady soon discovered that they were spiritual pairs, 
mated to each other from the beginning of time ; 
a secret which they revealed to Foot and to the 
lady's husband ; both of whom fell on their 
knees and prayed for light in this new peril which 
had come upon their faith. The cup was very 
bitter, the rod was very sharp, the goad was very 
strong. But what is man that he should turn 
against the goads ? Heaven's will must be done 
on earth ; and the only question mooted in this 
pious household was, whether this thing which 
had been made known to them was the work of 
Heaven. After much and sore contention of the 
spirit, both Foot and the husband thought they 
saw their way. Death is the term of legal wed- 
lock. In the resurrection there is neither marry- 
ing nor giving in marriage. And had not the end 
of all legality arrived ? Were not the Eev. Charles 
Mead, the woman, and her husband, saints who had 
entered on the heavenly life ? To them, were not 
the world and its rules as things of the past ? 
The reign of sin was over; and with the reign 
of sin had gone all contracts made in the name 
of life and death. What death could do for 
them was done; and every contract which" death 
could break was already broken and annulled. 


On this view of the matter, they agreed to let 
the woman and her spiritual lover have their 

But the squatters and teamsters living out 
West, not having been saved from sin and born 
to a new life, felt bound to resent this arrange- 
ment in their neighbour's house ; and when 
a child was born of this spiritual pairing, 
they seized their axes and firelocks, broke into 
the log shanty, collared the three male saints, 
stript them to the skin, smeared them with 
tar, rolled them up in feathers, and set them on 
a rail. 

This matter came before a court of law, in 
which Mead defended himself in person ; but the 
judge agreed with the mob that a great offence had. 
been committed by the reverend gentleman against 
public morals. Mead was cast in damages, and 
sent to gaol. 

Foot held fast to his view that in this sad 
affair he had done no more than his duty, 
since he felt sure that Mead, in living with his 
sister in all the freedom of bride and groom, 
was carrying into effect the holiest ordinance 
of God. This was what he said to his religious 
friends. Of course, the transaction made some 


noise in the revival camps ; perhaps, in the 
end, it weakened Foots power as a preacher; but 
for a long time after Mead's trial and imprison- 
ment, this reverend gentleman was well known as 
a leader in the conventicles of Massachusetts and 
New York. 



worden's confession. 

Marquis L. Worden, a staid and sober person, 
fifty-five years old, is a married man, and the 
father of a family. I made his acquaintance in 
New York State. He was a farmer of good 
standing, and of fair education for his class. He 
lived in the first burnt district ; and his reli- 
gious trials, which, up to a certain point in his 
life, were those of many thousands of his country- 
men (a fact to give them value in the eyes of all 
social students), are told in the following paper, 
which he drew up for me at my request : 

"New York, Dec. 15, 1866. 

" In undertaking to give you my recollections of 

Spiritual wifehood, I must necessarily relate more 

or less of personal history and experience ; and at 

best I may not be able to throw much light on a 

worden's confession. 81 

subject wrapped, as I think this is, in the mystery 
of religions enthusiasm. 

" It is common with religious sects, and espe- 
cially with individuals of the highest spiritual 
attainments, in times of fervent zeal, to think of 
God and Providence as arranging their future in re- 
ference to social companionship. They have come 
into the presence of God and the powers above, 
and therefore recognise a higher law over their 
impulses and passions, and offer their hearts to its 
guidance rather than to the law of human ordi- 
nances. Thus it can be seen how wives might be 
claimed under the prerogatives of the Spirit. 

"I was born in 1813, at Manlius, Onondaga 
County, New York. It was about the time I was 
twenty-one (1834) that I was baptized by immer- 
sion, and taken into full communion with the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. In the last days of 
the same year, I became a convert to Methodist 
Perfectionism. So I consider this as a sort of 
pivotal period from which I look backward and 
forward in my history. To me the year 1834 
was throughout a year of earnestness, devotion, 
and religious activity. Revivals prevailed in 
the neighbourhoods and region round about 
Manlius, and through the country in which the 



New Measure Evangelists, such as Luther 
Meyrick, Horatio Foot, and James Boyle, led 
the way, and it was my pleasure to unite in 
zeal and effort with them, under the Union 
religious sentiments which were popular at the 
time. I did not know anything of Perfectionism 
until the fall of 1834, although the Sheldons and 
others in Delphi, hut fifteen miles distant, had 
been testifying to salvation from sin for a year or 
more. Martin P. Sweet and Jarvis Eider of De 
Ruyter village, near Delphi, became Perfec- 
tionists under the Sheldons' preaching, and tra- 
velled together as apostles, preaching from place 
to place, or, as they called it, bearing witness to 
salvation from sin. They went to Syracuse, to 
Owego, and finally came to Manlius' Centre, where 
the Cook and Mabie families, who had been 
agitated by revivals during the summer, received 
them and were converted. By and by I came 
in contact with them, .and received one or more 
of the first numbers of the Perfectionist, then 
recently published in New Haven. The perusal of 
these papers, together with the testimony of these 
persons, led me to desire, through new convictions 
and aspirations, an experience both deeper and 
higher than I had attained, and it was joyfully 

worden's confession. 83 

realised at about the close of the year. I had a 
calm trust in God and grateful sense of deliver- 
ance ; had no disorderly intentions ; and supposed 
I was still a Unionist or Methodist; but the 
people who were called by these names did not 
receive my testimony, and their coldness sent me 
to the genial warmth of Perfectionists, with whom 
I henceforth affiliated. 

" I can conscientiously say that those early 
manifestations of New York piety were charac- 
terised by earnestness, zeal, and power ; and that 
the influence of individuals by their faith and 
daily life was convincing to their neighbours that 
they held a holier faith, and lived better lives, than 
common men. They believed in salvation from 
sin ; that ' whosoever is born of God doth not sin, 
and cannot sin because he is born of God/ and has 
no disposition to sin ; that ' whosoever sinneth is 
of the devil.' They believed that they were led 
by the Spirit. They rejoiced in deliverance from 
what they called Babylonish captivity, or the 
legality of the churches, and no doubt this sen- 
timent finally affected their feelings and practice 
in various ways, and especially was applied to 
domestic and social relations. Here we come to 
the beginning of the Spiritual-wife theory. 


" There was in Delphi an early believer, Lucina 
Umphreville by name, — a young woman of fair 
appearance, good ability, and of prepossessing 
manners, who seemed to set herself up as a sort of 
Ann Lee, the advocate of spiritual love, in opposi- 
tion to carnal love, Lucina rejected marriage. 

" I came under this anti-marriage theory and 
influence, and have reason to believe it was 
common throughout my acquaintance. But during 
its prevalence, the idea of special companionship of 
the male with some particular female existed in a 
silent, undemonstrative way, and found expression 
occasionally. I remember the impression I was 
under, from what I heard in some quarters, that 
this lady champion of no-marriage and no-inter- 
course herself was at one time considered the 
better half in spiritual union with Jarvis Rider, 
because ' the man was not without the woman in 
the Lord/ 

" This spiritual union too, so far as I recollect 
my impressions, was conceded to be a state of high 
attainment, for Lucina always quoted the text, 
e They that are accounted worthy to obtain that 
world do not marry, but are as the angels of God/ 
So the relation was considered sacred, pure, and 

wokden's confession. 85 

"In the spring of 1836, Maria Brown, of 
Brimfield notoriety, came to Manlius Centre. 
At that period some changes had come over these 
peculiar theories and relations of the brethren 
and sisters. Jar vis Rider had become much 
attached to a married woman, a sister whom we 
all very much appreciated and loved for her 
beauty of character and goodness of heart. At the 
same time, Miss Anti- Marriage (Lucina Umphre- 
ville) was appropriated by Charles Lovett in the 
same sense as Brother Rider had previously held 
her. Meanwhile the married sisters husband 
became disturbed and anxious, and in a fit of 
mad jealousy took his horsewhip, and applied 
it furiously to Brother Rider's back, and sent 
him in haste out of doors. But afterwards, 
through compunction of conscience and other 
influences, this furious brother repented, and re- 
stored Brother Rider to his family and confidence, 
with confessions, regrets, and humiliations, and 
the course of love ran smooth again. But in 
the sequel there was some reason to believe that 
the relation became so far carnal as to lay just 
foundations for scandal. 

" I do not know that the Spiritual- wife theory 
was organised and put in operation by these or 


any other similar transactions before and after 
them, but that phraseology was used to some 
extent among us. My impression is that its 
origin might be traced to reports and scandals 
coming in from Palmyra, Wagnelo, N.Y., where 
Joe Smith, since about 1829, had been developing 
Mormonism. I notice in the History of the 
Mormons that mention is made of Smith's in- 
ducing several women to cohabit with him whom 
he called Spiritual Wives. The time is given as 
1838, and it was not until 1842 that he received 
his revelation authorising polygamy. But I have 
the impression that there were in circulation 
stories about his Spiritual Wives long before that 

"Whether there was anything of account, in 
theory or practice, beyond such incidents as I 
have mentioned, to indicate the inauguration of 
Spiritual Wifehood in central New York, I 
cannot say ; but I judge that some theory of 
the kind did exist in fact in the minds and 
hearts of the revival body as a whole. My 
impression is that Erasmus Stone acted more or 
less on such ideas in his relations with Eliza 
Porter. And Hiram Sheldon had a time of 
seeing in Sophia A. Cooke what he failed to 

worden's confession. 87 

appreciate in his own wife. There was quite a 
general expectation that the resurrection was soon 
coming to reorganise society, and provide personal 
companionship of male and female without regard 
to law or other marriage institutions. But as to 
carnal love, it was in many minds a pollution, 
not to be tolerated, but to be crucified with the 
carnal mind, which is not ' subject to the law 
of God, nor indeed can be/ 

" Years passed on. The weakness of some was 
manifest in their being overcome by the passions 
which they had condemned, and declared cruci- 
fied and dead; in others by the surrender to the 
marriage relation, and I began to wonder what 
the end would be. Finally, my own attachment 
concentrated on a young lady who stood, in heart, 
firmly on the theory of no marriage. Purity and 
community with the angels was her motto. But 
I pushed in the direction of actual marriage. 
Formidable were the obstructions ; among others, 
I found that Brother Charles Lovett had in- 
timated that my chosen one was his affianced 
bride in the heavens. I waited yet awhile. 
But in the year 1839, on the 4th of March, I was 

" Marquis L. Worden." 



All that is said in this confession by way of 
fact, known to the writer, is no doubt true. It 
is only when Worden comes to hearsay and fancy 
that he goes wrong. His " impression " that the 
theory of Spiritual Wives may have come from 
the Mormons of Palmyra, has no foundation to 
rest on. 

The story of Mary Cragin's Spiritual trials, 
which gives us a deeper insight into the working 
of these morbid passions, may now be told. 




Mary Cra.gin was one of the chief of many 
female brands who had been plucked from the 
burning fires during the Great Revival. The story 
of her life is here told mainly in the words of 
her husband George. 

In its broad features, this story of two lives 
is that of an idolater and his idol ; of a singularly 
warm and steadfast human passion, in conflict 
with an equally warm and steadfast spiritual 
passion. The idolater was George Cragin ; the 
idol was his wife Mary. 

From every one who knew her, I hear that 
in her younger days Mary was extremely beau- 
tiful ; but her rare beauty of face and figure 
seems to have been counted as the least among 
her many attractions. She had the soft eye 
which seeks, and the ready smile which wins, 
the beholders heart. She was a good musician, 
a ready talker, a delightful nurse. Every man 


who came near her fell beneath her sway. 
Without seeming effort on her side, she became 
the soul of every society into which she entered ; 
and from her native force of brain and will she 
could not help becoming a leader of men and 
women in both the family and the church. Her 
story is worth telling at some length. 

George Cragin, her husband by the law, was 
born in 1808, at Douglas, a village some fifty miles 
from Boston. He was of Scottish descent ; but 
his forego ers had been settled in Massachusetts 
since the days of the Mayflower. His father 
and mother, Puritans of the hardest type, had 
brought up their son in the belief that to drink 
wine, to smoke pipes, to dance, to drive a sleigh, 
to read novels, to see plays, to miss divine 
service, and go to a revival church, were each and 
all deadly sins. Cragin the elder was a dark, 
stern, silent man ; staid in manner, prompt in 
counsel, active in business ; who, as he seemed 
to be doing well in the world, was allowed to 
take a high part in the local politics, and to 
represent the city of Douglas in the legislature of 
his state. He was poor in health ; his business 
adventures failed ; and his family was beggared at 
one blow. Father and son left Douglas ; and at 


nineteen years of age George Cragin found himself 
thrown upon the world for bread. 

At this age, George was hardly more than 
a child. Twice he had made himself tipsy with 
tobacco, and once with lemon-punch. Twice he 
had fallen in love ; once when he was ten years 
old, with a lady of the same age, but of un- 
known name ; once again, when he was fifteen, 
with a poor Methodist girl, named Rebecca, whom 
his father would not suffer him to court. This 
second love affair had brought much trouble on 
his parents; who, being members of the Congre- 
gational church, held Methodist girls, especially 
Methodist girls who were poor, in high contempt. 
This love, though hot in the lad of fifteen, could 
hardly live in a parent's ire. George gave way, 
and Rebecca went to the well. 

George was now sent to school, where a female 
pupil is said to have died for love of him. Then 
he was placed behind a counter in Boston, from 
which point of disadvantage he first saw something 
of fallen women ; afterwards, in the way of busi- 
ness, he got to New York, where he was converted 
by a revival preacher, the Rev. Charles G. Finney, 
a great light among the Free Church and New 
Measure people. In New York he fell into mild 


flirtations with Sarah Steele, a co-diseiple in the 
Lord. But this New York Sarah, though she 
took his arm on her way to meeting, and seemed 
in her quiet mood to enjoy his talk, would not 
suffer the young man from Massachusetts to kiss 
her lips. Once, when he threw his arm about her 
neck and tried it on, she flashed out upon him 
with a " Why, George ! " that went into his flesh 
like a knife. Sarah was proud to have the young 
Puritan for an escort when she went to hear the 
Rev. Charles G. Finney denounce the world and 
the devil ; but her heart was dead to such warm 
love as glowed in George's heart, and on his offer 
of a soft salute, her quick reproof of his folly sent 
him whirling off into infinite space ; from which, 
let the lady do what she liked, he could never 
find his way back. 

After this rebuff from Sarah, he fell more 
eagerly than ever into a course of stern, unbating 
exercise of the spirit. With a clerk of like mind, in 
the same trading house, he agreed upon a plan for 
prayer. These lads met in the office, of which they 
kept the keys, at Hve o'clock every morning ; they 
prayed together until six, when they walked out 
to their chapel ; there they prayed until seven ; 
after which they went back to the counting-house 


and began the business of the world. In their 
long walks they repeated snatches of psalms and 
hymns. In their moments of leisure they lisped 
a form of prayer. After work was done in the 
store, they returned to chapel for service, and after 
service in the chapel they retired to their room 
for private devotion. Every hour of Sunday 
was absorbed by church and school. On that day 
they held Bible classes for young men and young 
women, most of all for young women ; many of 
whom they wrought upon, by word or tone, to 
confess their sins. 

It was in this strict school of duty and 
observance that George Cragin encountered the 
young lady who was to become his wife. 

High among the old families of Puritan de- 
scent who had found a home in Maine, were the 
Johnsons and Gorhams of Portland. Like all the 
best families in New England, these Johnsons 
and Gorhams were engaged in farming and trad- 
ing ; but they ranked with the gentry ; they put 
their girls into good schools ; they sent their boys 
to college ; and they held their heads rather high 
among the intellectual classes. Daniel, one of the 
Johnson young men, had proposed to Mary, one 
of the Gorham ladies ; he had been accepted as 


a suitor ; and, after his equal and happy marriage, 
he had become the father of two children, a boy 
and a girl. This pair of Puritans, Daniel and 
Mary Johnson of Portland, were Presbyterians of 
the strictest rite ; members of the Pev. Edward 
Payson's church ; and their infant children, called 
by their parents' names, Daniel and Mary, were 
baptized into the new life by that eminent divine. 
In due time, Daniel E. Johnson, the boy, went to 
Yale College, where he took high honours, studied 
theology, and became an ornament of the Presby- 
terian Church. Mary, the girl, was born in 1810 ; 
and her course of life was to run on a wholly 
different line. 

From an early age she showed unusual signs 
of quickness and sympathy. Very pretty, very 
bright, very amiable, everybody liked her and 
everybody petted her. To her father and her 
brother, she was a sort of idol ; so that, even 
when she was yet a little child, they never tired 
of reading with her and working for her. Placed 
in a good school when she was five years old; 
kept at close drill until she was fifteen; helped 
at home by a clever father ; spurred along by 
the correspondence of an advancing brother ; 
where is the marvel that Mary's teachers should 


have at last declared that they could teach her 
no more ; and that the time had come when 
she might be entrusted to teach in turn? 

Johnson, her father, who was engaged in busi- 
ness as a bookseller and publisher, removed his 
house from Portland to New York, in the hope of 
doing better in the Empire State than he had 
done in Maine. Shortly after his arrival with his 
wife and daughter in the great city, a movement, 
which had been commenced by Mrs. Bethune 
and other ladies, for establishing infant-schools 
for the benefit of the poor, took active form in 
New York. A committee was formed, on which 
were Dr. Hawks, Dr. Bethune, and many other 
men of name and note. They wanted female 
teachers. One school was to be opened by them 
near St. Thomas' Church, to be placed under the 
care of its pastor, the famous orator and writer, 
Francis Lister .Hawks, Doctor of Divinity ; and 
Mary Johnson, whose grace and tact were known 
to many ladies and clergymen on the new com- 
mittee, was asked to undertake the charge ; which 
she did at once, from a high sense of duty ; though 
this charge of a hundred and fifty children was 
sure to be a heavy burthen to a girl not yet 
beyond her teens. 


Rooms were now hired on the ground-floor of 
Union Church, in Princes Street ; notices were sent 
into the houses and cabins all about ; and when the 
doors of her school were thrown open, Mary found 
her benches flooded with refuse from the quays and 
lanes. The little things who came to her were 
dirty and in rags ; they hardly knew their own 
names ; many of them had no homes, and could 
not tell where their mothers lived. All the small 
miseries of a great city seemed to be poured into 
the schoolroom under Union Church through these 
open doors. But Mary had her heart in the toil. 
She put these tiny wretches into rows and classes 
— the younger chits together, the older girls by 
themselves, and taught them to march in step, and 
to sing in time. She induced them to wash their 
faces and mend their clothes. She read prayers 
for them, and explained the Bible to them. In a 
few months these imps and elfs of the river-side 
were changed into the likeness of human beings. 
Some fell back, no doubt ; the tides of the world 
being far too strong for an infant-school to stem ; 
but the work of cleansing, shaping, and restoring 
still went forward under Mary's care ; the little 
ones coming to her when they could, and staying 
as long as the house-keeper would let them stay. 


Many a poor mother, as she tramped through the 
streets, was only too glad to find a place in which 
for six or seven hours she could leave her homeless 
child. The Rev. Francis Hawks and the com- 
mittee were coming to feel very happy in their 
success, when a simple incident occurred, which 
was to carry away their teacher into another 





* Church services are over," says George Cragin, 
narrating the events which brought him into 
his first companionship with Mary Johnson, " the 
congregation slowly disperse, some going one 
way and some another. All, save a few young 
men, have left the sanctuary for their homes. 
The latter hold a prayer-meeting for a short 
time, and then they too separate and go here 
and there. It was one of Nature's heavenly days, 
that Sunday in June ; the sky clear as crystal, 
and the air sweet and balmy as the breath 
of infancy, when I stood in front of the church 
saying to myself, l Shall I return to my home down 
town ? ' I did not always return to my boarding- 
house till after the evening meeting. My usual 
route was down Broadway, but something 
put the suggestion into my mind to return 
home through the Bowery. And why that way ? 


It is a good half-mile farther. Never mind that ; 
obey orders and march. So down the Bowery I 
started. I was by no means partial to that great 
thoroughfare of butchers' and Bowery boys ; too 
many roughs and rowdies promenaded its side- 
walks on Sundays to suit my taste. Inwardly, 
however, I felt at peace with all mankind just then, 
and was humming to myself as I walked straight 
a-head, passing the gay and the thoughtless, — 

' Jesus, I Thy cross have taken, 
All to leave and follow Thee.' 

When, having nearly reached the Bowery Theatre, 
I was suddenly surprised and brought to a stand- 
still, by being confronted, not by rowdies walking 
three abreast, with pants turned up at the bottom 
showing the white lining, and each with a cigar 
in the cavity of his figure-head, but by a beauti- 
ful, smiling face (who ever saw a smiling face that 
was not beautiful ?), the owner of which was a 
Miss Mary E. Johnson, the infant-school teacher of 
our church. We had never spoken to each other 
before, to my recollection, although members of 
the same religious body. Perhaps there had never 
been a necessity for it, but there was one now. 
Miss Johnson was not alone; had she been alone 


we should have simply nodded recognition and 
passed on. She held by the hand a little girl, not 
more than four years of age, who had been brought 
by some one into her infant Sunday-school class, 
at the close of which the little innocent remained 
uncalled for. How many children are left in one 
way or another, and remain uncalled for? So, 
Miss Johnson, whose interest in and care for 
children under her charge was already proverbial 
in that section of the city, undertook the task of 
finding the little one's home, or (since many of the 
very poor do not have homes, but only stopping- 
places) her owners, with no other guide than the 
child herself, who had taken her teacher down to the 
Bowery Theatre, intimating that she lived in that 
direction. But after fruitless wandering, for nearly 
an hour, Miss Johnson, becoming a little alarmed, 
and not knowing what to do with the ' uncalled- 
for > upon her hands, was returning up the Bowery 
when we met. Her anxiety about the child was 
so great that, conquering her bashfulness and sense 
of female propriety, that would have deterred her 
from speaking to a young man in the streets, she 
followed the stronger instinct of her heart by 
stopping and stating to me the facts of the case. 
My benevolence, acting in concert with my admi- 


ration for female loveliness, needed no spur to 
make me a volunteer at once for the service 
required, being glad enough of the privilege of 
joining so attractive an expedition in search of 
the whereabouts of the child's parents. After a 
brief consultation we decided to return to the 
vicinity of the church, for the further prosecution 
of the search ; and if no owners for the lost pro- 
perty appeared, then consult the elders for further 
advice. So, with the little one between us, we 
moved forward for our destination. 

" It was a pleasant walk that — I remember it 
well. I had heard much about Miss Johnson, as 
being a young woman of good mind, well educated, 
and a model of the rules of city politeness, 
etiquette, etc. I thought myself, therefore, highly 
favoured by Providence in being thus incidentally 
thrown into her company ; for the conviction con- 
tinued to cling to me that I was still a rustic, and 
needed much discipline to free me from clownish 
habits. But little did I imagine at that time, that 
I had providentially met the woman with whom in 
future I was to take many walks and rides, and 
have many sittings together, both in sorrow and in 
joy, in adversity and in prosperity. 

" On arriving at the door of the school-room in 


the basement of the church, we found the mother 
of the little one waiting patiently, and quite un- 
concernedly, for the child to turn up. e Were you 
not alarmed for the safety of your little girl V 
said Miss Johnson to the mother. 

" 'Lord bless ye, ma am ! how could I be troubled 
when my young ones be better off with you, Miss 
Johnson, than they be at home ? I wish you had 
some of them all the time. But I suppose you 
will have enough of your own, Miss, one of these 
days/ This last allusion deepened the colour, 
already cherry-red, on the cheeks of the young 

" Being relieved of the little responsibility on 
her hands, Miss Johnson had a greater one now to 
dispose of, which she had assumed by inviting an 
ally to assist in the search. Her parents residing 
nearly opposite the church, she could do no less 
than invite me in to tea." 

George found that he was now falling into love, 
in some sort against his will ; since he was conscious, 
to use his own words, that the marriage spirit was 
a strong antagonist of the revival spirit ; and also, 
perhaps, because, in a dim way, he was conscious 
of the existence of another young girl called Sarah 
Steele. Sarah was still a very dear friend ; now 


and then he went to see her ; but as he told 
himself that he had never opened with her a 
matrimonial account (a baffled attempt at kissing, 
I suppose, may count for nothing) he owed her no 

With Mary he was soon at fever heat. " When 
I bid our fair friend good evening," on the second 
time of speaking with her, he says, "a queer sen- 
sation passed over me, quite different from any 
former experience. It seemed as though I had 
parted with a large share of myself or life. Not 
that it was lost in any unpleasant sense, for I 
felt very happy after saying that good evening." 

Mary was kind to him, though in all her talk 
with him her chief concern appeared to be for 
the salvation of his soul. Her own affairs 
were not going on well. Cholera had compelled 
her to close the school ; things had gone wrong 
with her father, who had lost his business and 
taken to cock-tails and rum-punch ; a fierce revival 
had sprung up, and her lover had quitted the old 
connexion in which she lived to assist in building 
up a Free Church. Heavy clouds, therefore, lay 
upon her life. Not that she was hopeless ; her 
beauty and her gracious talent brought to her 
side a host of friends. One young man of high 


family and promising fortunes offered her his 
hand ; but thinking him, with all his bravery and 
distinction, to be a man of worldly spirit, she put 
the temptation of raising herself and all her family 
from her heart. Perhaps she was in love with 
George. Perhaps she had scant belief in the power 
of wealth to make women happy. Anyhow, she 
had a fine sense of duty, which absolutely forbade 
her to accept advantages offered to her under 
the stress of what might prove to be, on the part 
of this wealthy lover, a passing whim. 

When George in turn proposed to her, she re- 
fused his love under a solemn weight of care. Was 
she fit for the married life ? Was not her father a 
man who drank ? Was not she in some sort a 
child of shame ? Could she consent to involve 
a man whom she loved in her own disgrace ? 
In these words she put the case before her 
lover : 

" You may remember that some time ago you 
drew me out in a conversation about marriage, in 
which I remarked that I had made up my mind 
not to marry, even if an unexceptionable life- 
partnership were proffered to me. You probably 
regarded it at the time as a girlish expression that 
meant exactly the opposite, if any meaning whatever 


was attached to it. But you will think differently 
now, when you understand the ground upon which 
I ventured that declaration. It may not have 
escaped your notice altogether, when you have 
been at our house, that my fathers conversation at 
times has been quite ambiguous and disconnected, 
— not to say meaningless and silly ; making it mani- 
fest that he was under the influence of intoxicating 
drinks. The confession, therefore, that I have 
long desired to make to you is, that my father is 
an intemperate man, and has been so for a number 
of years. The grief that this habit of his has 
caused my dear mother, brother, and myself, is 
known only to Him who ' was a Man of sorrows, 
and acquainted with grief.' It was through this 
habit, and the associations to which it leads, that 
he lost a lucrative business. For some good and 
wise purpose this trial has been put upon me in 
my youth, and I am learning to submit to it 
without murmuring ; believing that all things 
work together for good to ' them who love God/ 
If it were poverty alone against which we are 
called upon to struggle, I should by no means 
regard it as a disgrace, but only an inconvenience 
to be avoided. But intemperance is a vice, if not a 
crime, because it implies a lack of self-control and 


manly courage in resisting temptation to idleness 
and slavish appetites. 

" Now will you believe me when I say to you, 
that I have too much regard for you to consent to 
disgrace your fathers family by accepting your 
offer of marriage ? I hardly need say that it has 
cost me many mental struggles to take this step. 
But I could not satisfy my sense of right without 
making the sacrifice." 

That note from Mary Johnson fixed her fate for 
life. Up to this point George had thought of her 
only as a pretty girl, soft of voice, who made every- 
body love her.^ Now she was a heroine ; a young 
woman capable of the highest form of sacrifice. 
Give her up ! What had he to do with pride ? 
His family, though of the same class, was not so 
good as hers ; for on her mothers side, at least, 
she had come from the very best blood in Maine. 
The Cragins could not pretend to rank with the 
Gorhams. He therefore pressed his suit upon her. 
Mary paused ; but her brother, the Rev. Daniel E. 
Johnson, joined in supporting George's prayer ; 
and during a summer holiday, the wedding of 
these young hearts took place ; the Rev. Daniel 
Johnson, now acting as the true head of his family, 
giving away the bride. 




The tricks which Cragin found in vogue among 
the men of Wall Street sickened him with trade ; 
Ins Puritan blood, his natural taste, and his 
religious zeal, conspiring to make him loathe the 
ways which lead to success either on the quay or 
in the bank. Other work appeared to call him. 
The vice on the river side, the misery at Five 
Points — the thieves' slums near the Battery, the 
harlots' dens in Green Street — spoke to his heart. 
Thanks to the Rev. Charles G. Finney, and some 
other revival preachers, efforts were then being 
made to deal, on a new plan, and in a religious 
spirit, with the dangerous classes of New York ; 
and this strife with ignorance and misery was the 
kind of work for which nature and education had 
prepared both Cragin and his wife. They joined 
in it heart and soul; becoming teachers among 
the poor, visitors among the cast-away, dis- 


tributors of tracts, of clothes, of alms to the 
lowest classes in one of the most abandoned cities 
of this earth. Five or six years were spent by 
Cragin as the agent, lecturer, and publisher, first 
of the Maternal Association, then of the Female 
Benevolent Society, and next of the Female Moral 
Reform Society. To the last of these societies 
George was the male agent, working, however, 
under a committee of ladies. 

Pass we lightly over the early years of their 
married and religious life ; since those years — 
though full of matter to the man and woman — 
were but the stages through which Mary was to 
travel on her way from legal bondage, as they 
called it, to a state of freedom from sin and 
spiritual marriage to another man. During these 
years they lived in the revival world, among 
men and women who had embraced the wildest 
doctrines of the New Measure and the Free 
Church. They were always on the watch for new 
lights, for personal intimations, for the coming of 
they knew not what. They loved each other very 
much ; and on George's side the passion had 
passed, at a very early stage of wedlock, into 
idolatry. Now and then a fear came on them 
that this isolating and exclusive love was wrong; 


since they could not help feeling that it took them 
from the Church ; and they began to fear lest 
it should end in withdrawing their hearts from 
God. On both sides there was an earnest striving 
after a nobler life. Every storm of revival 
energy which passed through the land in which 
they dwelt, caught them up in its whirl, tossed 
them to and fro on its angry waves, and left 
them stranded among a thousand broken hulls 
and spars. 

George Cragin says : 

"The spring of 1839 found us occupying the 
half of a dwelling in Jane Street, New York, a 
tenement amply sufficient for our small family. 
Mrs. Cragin's mind was still much exercised on 
the subject of perfect holiness, or salvation from 
sin. Being relieved from the cares and per- 
plexities of a large family, she had leisure for 
reflection and self-examination. Through the 
agency of Mrs. Black, Mrs. Cragin formed the ac- 
quaintance of several persons called ' Perfec- 
tionists/ who claimed to have come into possession 
of the priceless boon of freedom from sin and 
condemnation. These individuals received what 
knowledge they possessed on the subject from 
Abram C. Smith and John B. Lyvere, persons 


with whom John H. Noyes was associated for 
a short time in the year 1837. My own mind 
was ill at ease during this period. I can hardly 
describe the soul-tidal fluctuations to which I 
was subject. Although a nominal member of the 
Tabernacle Church, I seldom attended the meet- 
ing, excusing myself from duty-doing on account 
of the distance from my residence. I was neither 
in the church nor out of it — still clinging to 
the shadow, vainly wishing it might turn into 
a substance. At this juncture in my experience, 
attempts were made to get me back to the Third 
Free Church, where I expended so much of my 
early zeal during the revival period. The pastor, 
with whom I was well acquainted, employed a 
little flattery upon my egotism to gain my con- 
sent, saying that they wanted me to fill the 
vacancy of an eldership, &c. I was sore tempted 
to yield to their entreaties, but some unseen 
power kept me from the snare of official position. 
And, moreover, what was I to gain by turning 
again to the beggarly elements of dead works ? 
Orders had been given me to advance ; but I was 
slow in comprehending them. Formerly, I had 
looked up to ministers for guidance and instruc- 
tion ; I could look in that direction no longer. 


My intimacy with some of them disclosed the 
fact that they were, as a body, powerless and 
penniless in the riches of the wisdom and grace 
of God. The blind could not lead the blind. 
Sinners preaching to sinners was a mockery that 
my whole nature loathed. At times, I was greatly 
dissatisfied with myself; in a word, was sick — 
soul-sick. But the disease that was upon me — a 
criminal unbelief — was an unknown one to my- 
self and to the churches. Equally ignorant were 
we of the remedy — faith." 

Mary was the first to feel her way out of 
these troubles. The more immediate agency of 
her new conversion was a paper written by 
Father Noyes on the power of faith, — a paper 
which she read and pondered until light flowed in 
upon her soul. 

" It came," she said, " with the authority 
of the word of God to her inner life. Step 
by step it led her on, with that clear, logical 
conviction that characterises mathematical demon- 
stration, for ever settling points beyond all doubt- 
ful disputation and discussion. The spirit of that 
paper brought her face to face with the practical 
questions of believing, submission and confession, 
not at some future time, at a more convenient 


season, but now — present tense, imperative mood." 
Her husband then proceeds with the story of her 
inner life : — 

"For several weeks she spent much time in 
prayer, saying but little to myself or any one, for 
her feelings were too deep and intense for ex- 
pression, except to Him who hears the earnest, 
secret prayer of the honest-hearted seeker after 
truth. Mrs. Cragin had one weakness of character 
that greatly distressed her — a quick temper. At 
times, when the tempter would suddenly spring 
that snare upon her she would be overwhelmed 
with condemnation, which for the time being 
would cause her to despair of salvation. So the 
question would be thrust at her again and again, 
when she was on the point of confessing Christ 
in her a Saviour from all sin, ' You may be 
saved from other faults, but not from your pas- 
sionate anger when suddenly provoked/ And 
again, that unbelieving demon would insinuate 
to her, that if after making the confession that 
Christ had saved her from all sin, she should be 
overcome by her old enemy, all would be lost, 
and that Christ's power was insufficient to cast 
out a devil so subtle as the one with which she 
had in vain contended for so many years. Finally, 


the controversy that had been going on within 
was narrowed down to this single point, ' Is 
Christ within me ? ' I will quote a paragraph 
from the article so instinct with life to her soul : 

" ' If the inquirer declares himself willing to 
part with his idols, and yet cannot believe, we 
must search through his spirit again for the reason 
of his unbelief. Perhaps he is saying in his heart, 
' I would believe if I could feel that Christ is in 
me, and I am saved ; ' in other words, ' I will be- 
lieve the testimony of my own feelings, but not 
the word of God/ This is wrong. A right spirit 
says, ' Let God be true, and every man a liar. 
God says He has given me His Son and eternal 
life ; my feelings contradict His record ; my feel- 
ings are the liars, God is true ; I know and will 
testify that Christ is in me a whole Saviour, be- 
cause God declares it, whether my feelings accord 
with the testimony or not/ If you wish for peace 
and salvation by the witness of the Spirit before 
you believe, you wish for the fruit before there is 
any root. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost, are the consequences of faith ; the 
word of God, and that only, is its foundation/ 

" Mrs. Cragin," says her husband, " had gone 
through the conflict. . . ." 





The doctrine of a life without sin was made to 
rest on a belief that through the power of faith a 
man may be able to cast out from his nature the 
spirit of self. The selfish spirit was one with the 
evil spirit. All true virtue began with renuncia- 
tion. To give up self was to give up sin, and to 
live for God alone was the highest act of grace. 
" Follow me," had been a call to the elect for ever. 
Leave all, — leave every one, be it house and land, 
be it flocks and herds, be it even wife and child ; 
cast all these things behind thee, if thou wouldst 
save thy soul alive ! Such were the words ad- 
dressed to a believer's heart. All things near and 
dear must be laid on the altar of sacrifice ; rank, 
riches, pride, ambition, peace, and love. If a man 
would be freed from sin, his faith in God must be 
perfect ; his abandonment of self complete. God 
must become to him all in all. 


This act of renouncing self in the heart is 
the conflict to which George refers. Mary had 
always been less worldly in her ways than her 
husband was — more trustful and confiding, more 
like a saint and a child, as good women are 
apt to be, especially when their thoughts have 
taken a religious turn. She was now ready for 
the sacrifice, eager to spend and be spent. 

" Mrs. Cragin had gone through the conflict," 
says the idol- worshipper, " and a severe one it 
was, of giving up husband, child, mother, and 
brother, the most cherished of her household gods. 
She had counted the cost, moreover, of being cast 
out of society, if not rejected and disowned by 
relatives, and turned into the street by her hus- 
band ; so great was the odium cast upon the 
so-called heresy of Perfectionism. With the re- 
solution and heroic purpose of the noble Esther, 
of Bible history, to take the step before her, say- 
ing, 'If I perish, I perish/ she dared all conse- 
quences and made the confession that Christ was 
in her a present and everlasting Saviour from sin. 

" I well remember the day, the hour, and the 
place, in which she tremblingly obeyed the inspi- 
ration of her heart in confessing an indwelling 
Christ. I had returned home from my place of 


business at the usual hour, five o'clock in the 
afternoon. We were in our basement dining- 
room alone. After a pause of silence, she said, 
' I confess Christ in me a Saviour from all sin : 
I shall never sin again.' I believe that confession 
was heard and recorded in heaven, causing angels 
to rejoice over the victory thus gained — for they 
know the value of souls." 

George followed his wife into this non -selfish 
church, as he would have followed her into any 
other; for his soul was her soul, his mind her 
mind ; and he seems to have had, at that date, no 
wish, no hope, beyond doing her will and living 
in her love. From the day of their wedding, his 
passion for his lovely wife had been burning into 
whiter heat. About this time his love for her 
had increased to the point of fanaticism — to that 
of idolatry, when she bore him his first-born child. 
What she did, he must do ; whither she went, 
he must go ; her country must be his country, 
and her God his God. Mary was his law ; he had 
not yet come to see, only to fear, that this super- 
stition of the heart was an evil spirit, to be driven 
out of his soul at any and every cost before he 
could be reconciled in soul to heaven. 

He was to learn it all in time ; but the out- 


ward trouble came upon him sooner than the 
inward. Scouts and spies, who seem to abound 
in churches however holy, carried the news of 
George's conversion to the doctrine of a life on 
earth untouched by selfishness, unstained by sin, 
to several of the reforming ladies of his com- 
mittee — members of the Female Reform Society — 
who forthwith called a meeting of the board 
to condemn him. Mary wept for joy at this 
sound of a coming storm. She had prepared 
her soul for persecution. She wished to make 
some visible sacrifice for the truth. All that she 
had yet yielded up to God was a form — a dream 
— an allegory — a phrase. It was only in terms 
that she could be said to have given up father 
and mother, husband and child. But the angry 
matrons of the Reform Society were about to bring 
her sacrifices home. Their questions were rough, 
and to the point. What right had a man in a 
free country to change his mind ? What could 
induce a moral reformer to begin meddling with 
religious truth ? Where was the need for one, 
whose duty lay among thieves and fallen women, 
to trouble himself about salvation from sin ? In 
an angry mood these ladies came into the board- 
room. George was told to stand up before them, 


while thirty pair of bright eyes scanned his figure 
from head to foot, as though they had expected 
to see hoofs, and horns, and tail to match. What 
had he to say in explanation and defence ? 

Not much. He was a free man. He lived 
in a free state. He thought he was acting in his 
right. He knew that he was a better man for the 
change which had come upon his spirit. 

Hoot! said the Editress of a journal published 
by the Female Beformers, here is the Battle 
Axe letter, — an infamous letter, an infernal let- 
ter : this letter is from the pen of Noyes. Could 
a godly man write such a thing as that ? 

George did not know. The Battle Axe letter, 
he had heard, referred to what might be done 
by holy men and woman at some future time, — 
perhaps on this planet, perhaps in the higher 
spheres. He had nothing to say about it, since 
he did not understand it ; and his case stood 
solely on the paper called the Power of Faith. 

He was dismissed from office, and Mary wept 
upon his neck for joy. 

Turned out into the world, despised, con- 
demned of men, the pair put on, as it were, the 
raiment of bride and groom. Mary wrote to 
her new teacher, Father Noyes : 


" While I am writing to you I am weeping 
for joy. My dear husband one week since en- 
tered the kingdom. When I tell you that he 
has been the publishing agent of the Advocate 
of Moral Reform, and had been born but three 
days when they cast him out, you will rejoice with 
me. Ah, Brother Noyes, how have the mighty 
fallen ! In him you will find a most rigidly 
upright character, — Grahamism, and Oberlin per- 
fection all in ruins. How he clung to Oberlin, 
as with a death-grasp ! How confident was he 
that none were saved from sin but mere Gra- 
hamites ! How disgusted with the conduct of 
Perfectionists ! The Lord has pulled down strong 
towers. Bless the Lord ! — on the first of Decem- 
ber he will be without money and without busi- 
ness. How this rejoices me !" 

Such was the spirit in which Mary Cragin 
took the cross of persecution on herself. 

The last words of her letter were hardly true. 
George had been a prudent saver of his means, 
and, without telling his wife about his thrift, he 
had put up more than a hundred dollars in the 
bank. If they were poor, they were not penni- 
less. " We shall stand by," said Mary, strong 
in her faith, " and let the Lord provide." 


The two leading men of their new way of 
thinking in the State of New York were the Bev. 
Abram C. Smith and the Rev. John B. Lyvere. 
Smith lived at Rondout Creek, on the North 
river, about two miles from Kingston, seventy- 
iive miles from New York. Lyvere had a house 
in the city. With both these Saints the Cragins 
made acquaintance, and from both they received 
advice and help. "We looked up to these persons," 
says George, " as our teachers and guides, re- 
garding ourselves as mere babes in Christ, to be 
cared for and fed by others with the milk of the 
word of life." To Abram C. Smith, a bold, strong 
man, of large experience and resolute will, they 
became attached by the closest ties of friendship 
and brotherhood. 

Mary was so pretty, so clever, so engaging, 
that her house in Jane Street soon became a 
gathering place for the Saints of New York, who 
dropped in for counsel, for reproof, perhaps also 
for gossip. But the best of us are hardly better 
than the angels. George soon found that some 
of those Saints who had come to pray remained to 
flirt. At least, he thought so, and the mere 
suspicion made him wretched. 

" I have to confess," he writes, in his simple 


story, " that my wife had become a very popular 
member of our fraternity, receiving rather more at- 
tention from some of the brotherhood than suited 
my taste. One case in particular, with which I 
was occasionally disturbed, was that of a brother 
whose social antecedents presented anything but 
a clean record, although he had been a member 
of the Methodist Church for many years. That 
at which I took offence most frequently was his 
use of coarse language. Not possesing the faculty 
of concealing my feelings, I became rather an 
unpopular member of our circle. Placed thus 
between two fires, legality on the one hand and 
licentiousness on the other, my position led me 
into severe conflicts with the powers of darkness, 
and was anything but an enviable one. Many 
and many a time, as I walked the streets of 
the city, did I repeat to myself the verse, — 

4 The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, 
I will not, I can not, desert to His foes.' 

" I gained many a victory in spirit, devoutly 
hoping that each conflict would be the last en- 
counter with the enemy of my peace." 

Of course, in George's state of mind at that 
time, it was impossible for him to obtain, and almost 


irrational for him to desire, a perfect repose of 
mind. As he says, in looking back from the 
heights which he subsequently gained : 

" Those desires for peace before the devil was 
cast out of my whole nature were, of course, 
childish and egotistical. But we had entered a 
new school, and accepted such teachers as offered 
themselves to us. I needed help." 

That help which he needed for casting out 
the selfish spirit from his heart, and curing him- 
self of his old idolatry of his pretty wife, was near 
at hand, in the person of the Eev. Abram C. Smith. 




" The man to whom we looked for help, and in 
whom we had the most confidence," says Cragin, 
" was Abram C. Smith." 

The Rev. Abram C. Smith, the man by whom 
they were to be purged of the selfish spirit, and 
made fit for life in a higher sphere— who was to be- 
come George's Spiritual guide and Mary's Spiritual 
husband — was of a type, a class, an order, not 
peculiar perhaps to the American soil, yet nowhere 
to be found so strongly and sharply marked as in 
New England and New York. To begin with his 
list of merits, he had the true kind of name for a 
teacher, a name of three parts : the first part, a per- 
sonal name, Abram ; the third part, a family name, 
Smith ; and lying between these parts, an emphatic 
letter, C. on which the voice was to rest in speak- 
ing, and which was never to be written out in full. 
Nearly all the marked men among the Saints 


have this sign : as John B. Foot, Abram C. Smith, 
John B. Lyvere, John H. Noyes. But Abram 
C. had something about him far more potent than 
a name. He prided himself on being a zealot 
among the zealous, a free man among the free. 
He had all the virtues, and many of the vices, 
of the American frontier men. Born with an 
iron frame and a burning pulse, he was noted, 
even as a lad, for his hard ways of life and for 
his earnest speech. Very few youngsters equalled 
him in the power of getting through hard work 
on hard fare. In felling timber, in slitting rails, 
in trenching fields, in digging wells, in raising 
shanties, very few workmen could compete with 
Abram C. Like nearly all Yankee lads, he was 
a man while yet a boy ; free of the world, 
the flesh, and the devil in his teens ; loud, 
pinched, eager, resolute, talkative. From his 
cradle lie had been religious, after his kind. In 
youth he had received a peculiar call ; when he 
had joined a church of New York Methodists, in 
whose body he began his ministerial career. To 
use Cragin s words, " he possessed some excellent 
traits of character ; he was naturally very affec- 
tionate, kind-hearted, and self-sacrificing ; he 
possessed a good intellect ; and had he been well 


educated, and learned the spirit of obedience in his 
youth, he would have adorned either the pulpit or 
the bar." But he had scarcely been at school, 
and he had never learned obedience in his youth. 
All that a lad can learn in the street, in the field, 
and in a common school, he knew. He was great 
in traffic ; had a keen eye to business ; he knew 
the Bible by rote ; and he seldom failed in getting 
a slice of every cut loaf for himself. 

Among the new friends to whom his conver- 
sion made him known, the Bev. Abram C. found 
many who liked his keen speech, his firm will, his 
zeal for the salvation of souls. Cold, hard, en- 
during — sharp of tongue, prompt in wit, hot for 
the fray — he breathed the very spirit of revival 
fury. From the moment that his bishop granted 
him a license to preach, he became a Yankee Saint. 
" He went great lengths/' says Cragin, " in fasting, 
in praying, in simplicity of dress, in frugality and 
plainness of food, and he carried his notion of duty- 
doing to the topmost round of the legal ladder." 

Like most of his countrymen, he married 
young ; but his first love died. Some of his 
leaders thought he should take a second wife ; and 
by their persuasion, even more than from his own 
inclining, he proposed to a young Methodist 


woman, who, besides being tall, pretty, and accom- 
plished, had a peculiar and precious religious gift. 
I suppose the girl had fits. She described herself 
as receiving a sort of angels' visits, which disturbed 
her mind, and reft her limbs of their natural 
strength. After one of these visits, her friends 
would find her on the floor writhing and prostrate. 
Abram heard of these troubles of the young lady 
— proofs of her exceeding favour with the higher 
powers — and being anxious to stand well with 
the higher powers himself, he proposed to their 
favourite, and was happy in his suit. Three 
children had been born on his hearth, by his first 
wife ; his second wife brought him an infant ; but 
the mother who bore it, in spite of her accomplish- 
ments and her beauty, brought her husband no 
peace. In the meetings of her church, she was all 
smiles and tears ; her heart open to all, her voice 
soft to all ; but in the privacy of her own house, 
she showed another and darker side of her nature. 
One who lived in the same log-house with her 
some time, described her as a devils puzzle. She 
was good and kind, but she had no sense of truth. 
She could feel for another's pain, but she could see 
no difference between right and wrong. When 
Abram C. got vexed with her, as he often did, 


he would call her " a solid lie." Then, he would 
curse in his heart, and even in the hearing of his 
friends, those busybodies in the Methodist Church 
who had driven him, by their false praises, into mar- 
rying a wretch who had nothing to recommend her 
but a stately figure, and a pair of very bright eyes. 

Such were the two Saints at Rondout Creek, 
who were tempting George and Mary Cragin to 
share their home. 

" Mr. Smith's claims to a superior experience, 
and to a high position in the New Jerusalem 
Church, now being organised on earth, were by no 
means small. Had he not sounded the depths of 
Methodism ? And Wesleyan Perfectionism too, — 
had he not freely imbibed until it had ceased to 
afford him nourishment of any kind V 

The winter of 1840 was passing away and 
spring coming round. The time for which the 
Cragins had rented the tenement in Jane Street 
would soon expire. The question, therefore, where 
had the Lord prepared a place for them? came 
up for decision. 

Mary did not seem to care. She wanted to 
bear her cross, and if it were heavy enough her 
heart would be content. George had nursed 
from his youth upwards a more worldly spirit; 


and he preferred to see some way in which he 
could earn his daily bread. Love made a good deal 
for him ; but, in his view, love itself would be safer 
for a large supply of hominy and squash. The 
question, therefore, of what the Lord was going to 
provide in the way of food and lodgings, came 
before his mind with some peremptory sharpness. 

" I had no disposition to live in idleness ; I was 
born a worker, so that little credit, was due to me 
for my industrious proclivities. Thus far in my 
career I had worked for my body chiefly. In that 
career I had been arrested by the same authority 
that arrested Saul of Tarsus, and ordered to 
expend my powers of industry for the benefit of 
my soul. But how to set myself to work in the 
cause of the latter interest, I did not understand. 
I had a strong desire to leave the city, a desire 
which I now think was an uninspired one. The 
voice of the Spirit to me doubtless was, if I could 
have heard it, ' Remain in the city till I deliver 
you, or send you elsewhere. If you go into the 
country you will have trouble in the flesh/ But I 
had not learned to give my attention to the inner 
voice of God." 

In the meantime the Rev. Abram C. Smith 
continued to press his kindness on them. 


" From him," says George, " we had received a 
standing invitation to remove to his residence at 
Rondout, and join his family, if we could do no 
better. Having accepted him as our teacher, this 
opening of escape from the city seemed aiispicious 
to me." 

At this point it may be well to remember that 
the Rev. Abram C Smith was a married man. 
His wife was not a saint, at least, not in her heart 
of hearts; but she was his wife; and if Mary 
Cragin was to go on a long visit to Rondout, 
it was well that her pleasure in the matter should 
be known. Even Abram C. felt that he could 
hardly ask the Cragins to share his home without 
making his wife a partner in his suit. "Mr. 
Smith," says George, " for the first time called upon 
us in company with his wife, when the invitation 
to join their family was renewed. We were un- 
acquainted with the real character of this woman. 
In his previous interviews with us, Mr. Smith had 
said so little about his wife, that we had almost 
forgotten that he had one. In person, she was 
prepossessing and dignified. She was introduced 
to us as a newly made convert to Perfectionism, — 
a recent fruit of Mr. Smiths zealous efforts for the 
cause. With the Methodists she took rank among 



the Sanctificationists, having many times lost her 
strength by a sudden illumination from some 
invisible sphere. So she said ; but she did not say 
that she had lost her sins by those mysterious 
trances. She failed to impress me favourably. 
Her good looks ; her winning smiles, and professions 
of devotion to the cause we loved, were powerless 
in drawing out my heart or in securing my confi- 
dence. But, endorsed as she was by Mr. Smith, I 
distrusted my own impressions, and gave her the 
right hand of fellowship. " 

An invitation which the Cragins expected from 
an older friend than this reverend gentleman and 
his smiling partner failed them. The lease in Jane 
Street had expired. They had no house of their 
own. In a short time their money would be 
spent. All their old friends had been estranged 
from them by their change of faith. In a few days 
they would be wanting bread. What was to be 
their fate ? As George now saw, Abram's offer of 
a refuge from the storm eould hardly be refused. 
But, even at the last moment, Mary felt some 
doubts. She did not like to put herself and her 
husband into Abram's power. Perhaps she had 
seen some spirit in the man before which she 


" How much," says George, "we needed wisdom 
from above to direct our steps just then, those only- 
can judge who have been placed in similar circum- 
stances. Move we must in some direction, and as 
the invitation had been repeated by both Mr. and 
Mrs. Smith with so much apparent sincerity, we 
could do no less than disregard our own impres- 
sions and follow our leader somewhat blindly." 

Yes, the leap was made. "On the seventh of 
March, 1840, therefore, our furniture was placed on 
board a sloop bound for Rondout; and the same 
evening my wife, my little ones, and myself, were 
escorted by Mr. Smith to a steamer destined to the 
same place. That voyage was not soon forgotten. 
Mrs. Cragin was so depressed in spirit that it was 
with much difficulty she could control her feelings 
from finding vent in a flood of tears. She after- 
ward said to me that the moment we decided to 
unite ourselves with the family of Mr. Smith, 
darkness like an impenetrable cloud came over her 
mind, as though God had withdrawn from her soul 
the light of His fatherly countenance. Down to 
this point in our acquaintance with Mr. Smith, 
Mrs. Cragin had less confidence in and attraction 
for him than myself. She was now in distress of 
mind. The benevolence of our guide was appealed 


to. He talked to her with all the tenderness and 
eloquence of a sainted minister in the good old 
days of revivals. He won her heart. Mr. Noyes, 
a man whom she had never seen, had, by his 
inspired writings, completely secured her confidence 
as one raised up of God to lead us into the high- 
way of holiness. She had been hoping that Mr. 
Noyes would come to the city and advise us what 
to do ; and had she been in my place I think she 
would have written to him for the counsel we so 
much needed. But lacking that advice, she ac- 
cepted Mr. Smith as his representative ; and 
knowing that I also received him in that character, 
she very naturally, and, unavoidably, almost 
extended to him the same confidence she would 
have done to Mr. Noyes." 




At length they reached Rondout Creek, landed 
on the rough bank, facing the village of Rondout, 
in Ulster county, and saw the household in the 
midst of which they had come to live. 

" On arriving at our destination," says George, 
" we found ourselves in a family much larger than 
our own. Mr. Smith was living with his second 
wife, by whom lie had one child. By his former 
companion he had three children — a son and two 
daughters, two of whom were on the verge of ma- 
turity. The dwelling he occupied — an ancient 
stone edifice, erected before the first war with Great 
Britain — stood solitary and alone, on the south side 
of the creek or bay directly opposite the village 
of Rondout, the terminus of the Delaware and 
Hudson canal, and the shipping depot of the 
Lackawana Coal Company. As one of Mr. Smith's 
cardinal virtues was economy — carried almost to 


the type of parsimony — we found the interior of 
the house so plainly furnished that an anchorite 
could not have complained of superfluity in furni- 
ture, nor of sumptuousness in the bills of fare. Its 
frugality was a reminder of the experience of the 
early settlers of the country, often struggling with 
poverty for the right to subsist on terra jirma. 
We had congratulated ourselves that we had come 
down to the minimum of simple, plain living, before 
leaving the city, and were entitled to a liberal 
share of righteousness, if it was to be obtained by 
a process of economy in food and raiment. But 
Mr. Smith s system of retrenchment had now 
thrown ours entirely into the shade." 

In this dull house, with this sombre man, with 
this haughty woman, the Cragins took up their 
abode. The hard fare, the driving work, were 
taken as a portion of that cross which they had 
to bear for their souls' sake. The life was not 
lovely, but it held out to them a hope of peace, 
and it seemed to have been the lot appointed to 
them of God. To Mary this was the first and 
only thought ; but George, more active and ath- 
letic than his wife, soon found a rough animal 
comfort in doinsf the tasks which his stern em- 
ployer found for him on the farm. 


" Finding myself/' he says, " at last in the 
country, and on a farm upon which I was at 
liberty to expend my physical energies, I was 
soon enjoying myself greatly in following the 
plough behind a noble old horse, whose only defect 
was that he was as blind as a bat, with Joshua, 
a son of Smith, for a rider. The ostensible 
business which Smith pursued at that time was 
that of foreman of a gang of hands on the 
opposite side of the river engaged in manu- 
facturing lime and cement. The farm we lived 
upon was nominally owned by a brother of 
Mr. Smith, who allowed him the use of it at a 
moderate rent. The time of the latter was 
already much occupied, and my attraction being 
for agricultural pursuits, he placed me in charge 
of the farm department, while he continued in 
his position as agent and overseer for the lime 

" Possessing communistic ideas and proclivities, 
we thus made a slight attempt to carry out 
the Pentecostal spirit of holding all things in 
common. For a while, our associative effort bade 
fair to be a success, so far as out-door business 
and self-support were concerned. I very soon 
became much absorbed in my new avocatiom 


This suited Smith, as he had earned the reputa- 
tion of being a great worker himself, as well as 
of possessing a faculty for keeping those under 
him pretty constantly employed. So, with the 
blind horse and the lad Joshua, the ex-merchant, 
publisher, and reformer considered himself in 
favourable circumstances to secure, what few 
seemed to prize, the riches of godliness and 

Contentment ! Was he content ? Were the 
others content ? He was much in love with his 
wife, and perhaps he was a little jealous of the 
Eev. Abram C. But he felt sure of Mary; and 
he was only just beginning to find, through the 
hints of Abram C, that he had in himself a very 
bad spirit, which he should strive to cast out 
with all his might. His love for Mary was too 
hot and blind ; it was a snare of the devil ; 
it breathed the very soul of self; and was the 
sign of an unregenerate heart. That love would 
drive him away from God. 

George felt sorry and ashamed. He knew that 
he loved his wife beyond every earthly good; 
for was she not his nurse, his guide, his queen, 
the light of his eye, the joy of his heart, the 
pride of his intellect ? So far, he had not been 


able to see that in loving her for her worth 
and beauty, he was doing any harm. The example 
set by his new teachers at Rondout rather pained 
than edified him. 

" Between Mr. and Mrs. Smith, we soon dis- 
covered, no harmony existed. Indeed, there 
was manifestly positive alienation. A house 
divided against itself was not likely to offer a 
very peaceful retreat in which to pursue our 
.studies as pupils in the school of faith. Mrs. 
Smith was now Mrs. Smith at home, not abroad. 
When she called upon us in the city, she 
presented herself in a character not her own, 
that of a meek and lowly Christian. She had 
no longer an occasion for such a dress. If it 
was put on as a bait to attract us to Rondout, 
it was a success." 

It was not long before the bickering between 
the Rev. Abram C. and his wife came to an open 
quarrel ; and George soon found some reasons for 
suspecting that another and prettier woman was 
the active, though she may have been at first the 
unconscious, cause of this domestic fray. 

"My relation to Mr. Smith up to this time 
was that of a son to a father. I had from the 
first felt the need of a teacher. The want was 


born in me, and I had heartily accepted Mr. Smith 
to fill that office. For a while things appeared to 
go on smoothly enough so far as outdoor business 
was concerned; but interiorly there were indi- 
cations of stormy weather. In the region of 
my solar-plexus, counter-currents were flowing, 
causing perturbations of an unpleasant character. 
The first change that attracted my attention 
was something like coolness on the part of Mr. 
Smith toward myself. It was rarely now that 
he had any communication with me except in 
planning the outdoor business. On the other 
hand, his communications with Mrs. Cragin were 
more and more frequent and private. Did I dis- 
cover a corresponding change of coolness on the part 
of Mrs. Cragin, or was it a distorted imagination ? " 

By this time, George had made a pretty long 
step in his religious knowledge. He had been 
thinking over the doctrine of renunciation ; had 
talked about it to Abram and Mary ; and had 
come to see that the command to give up house 
and land, wife and child, might be understood 
in a literal sense, as a duty laid upon all the 
children of grace. 

Thus it happened that when he began to 
ask himself, as he trudged after the plough, 


how things were going on within doors, he 
could not help feeling that something more was 
expected from him by his teacher, if not also 
by his wife, than a mere sacrifice of form. 
What did they want? Above all, what did his 
idol wish him to do? As he dwelt upon their 
life before they had come to Rondout Creek and 
after, he could not help seeing that there had 
been a change with him for the worse. Mary 
had become silent and judicial; a new and very 
suspicious state of mind for her. 

" She has very little to say to me," he said to 
himself, " except in the way of criticism of a spirit 
in me which claims her affections." Why should he 
not claim them ? " That," says George, " was my 
weak point. I was stricken by the feeling of 
self-condemnation that came upon me." And 
then, he forced himself into a confession which 
was obviously foreign to his character. " Freely 
and sincerely would I admit to myself and others 
that in the sight of God I could claim in Mrs. 
Cragin no exclusive private property or privilege. 
That in forsaking all for Christ, as I claim to 
have done, my wife was included. So much was 
logically clear and conclusive to my understanding." 
All this philosophy, I- imagine, was the growth of 


later years. The true feelings of his heart broke 
out : " But my feelings, like wilful, disobedient 
children, would listen to no such reasoning. 
Being thus in bondage to irrational influences 
over which I had no power of control, I had all 
I could do to keep my own head above water 
without paying mnch attention to the conduct 
of others." But then, he could not leave the 
thing indoors alone. The thought of what his 
teacher might be saying to his wife confused his 
soul, and made his hand unsteady on the plough. 
Yet he had no strength to face his master, and 
to protect his wife. Had the reverend gentleman 
been a single man, Cragin might have fallen a 
passive victim to his force of will. But, in the 
haughty mistress at Rondout Creek, he found 
an ally on whom he had not counted. 

" Mr. Smith proved himself an unwise, unskil- 
ful general in attempting the management of forces 
over which he had but a limited control. While 
he had found in Mrs. Cragin an ally, a sweet- 
heart, and a very loveable associate, and appre- 
hended no trouble from me, seeing that I was 
fast bound in chains of self-condemnation, he had 
not counted the cost of leaving his wife as an 
enemy in the rear, with the disposition and the 


means of causing him serious trouble. It is 
barely possible, however, that he had counted 
on an affaire d' amour between his wife and 
myself, which, had it happened, there is no telling 
what the results would have been, though they 
would probably have been no better, but much 
worse. But I was in no state to fall in love 
with another woman. I had trouble enough on 
hand already, without contracting a debt for 
more, to be paid for at some future judgment 
day. I had business enough on hand, too, to get 
out of the idolatrous love for my wife, that I 
had been falling into for years, until it seemed at 
times as though I had got into the bottomless pit, 
where the more I struggled to get out the deeper I 
sank into hopeless despair." 




At Oneida Creek I was struck by the keen frank- 
ness with which my young doctor of medicine told 
me the story of his passions ; that young doctor 
was George Cragin, son of the George and Mary 
Cragin, whose story I am now telling from his 
father s notes. I then felt and said that his little 
history of one human heart was the strangest 
thing I had ever either heard or read. The fa- 
ther s tale is certainly not less strange. 

"Regardless of consequences," George continues, 
"Mr. Smith succeeded in compelling his wife to 
leave his house and take refuge over the Creek 
among her relatives. A more rash, inconsiderate 
act could not have been done, except by one 
wholly divested of reason ; and the motive of it 
soon became apparent. 

"During the first week in May, the relation 
between Mr. Smith and Mrs. Cragin had assumed 


the character of spiritual love, of the novelist type. 
It was not so much hatred of his wife which had 
caused him to turn her out-of-doors, as a fierce, 
crazy, amative passion — I cannot call it love — for 
my wife, whom he had already in spirit appropri- 
ated to himself. But he played his cards skilfully, 
for he so managed his hand as to throw all the 
responsibility of his intimacy with Mrs. Cragin 
upon myself. For instance, he told her one even- 
ing to feign distress of mind, or something to that 
effect, and to ask permission of me to repair to his 
room for spiritual advice. My wife was so com- 
pletely magnetised by him and under his power, 
that she would do almost anything he bade her. 
Accordingly, she obtained my consent ; and when 
she returned to me no harm was done. Unfor- 
tunately, the same sort of reason was pleaded the 
following night. My God, I said to myself, where 
is this thing to end 1 Are all these operations 
needed to cure me of the marriage spirit ? Must 
others do evil that I may get good ? 

"Well, Mr. Smith said, my case was a des- 
perate one, and desperate remedies had to be 
applied. Yet it did not suit me — even though 
my consent was given — to take medicine by proxy. 
Moreover, I did not really believe that Mr. Smith 


was at all anxious for my recovery, if that event 
would require a discontinuance of the proxy medi- 
cine. But my chief difficulty and the cause of my 
greatest distress was attributable to a distrust 
of my physician. Was he duly authorised by the 
poivers above to pursue the course he had adopted ? 
Serious doubts assailed me, so powerfully that it 
was in vain to resist them. Inwardly I prayed, 
and most earnestly too, for a change of doctors, or 
at least a council of medical savans, to take my 
case in hand." 

His prayer was answered. John H. Noyes 
with two other Saints, came down from Vermont 
to New York to attend the May meetings. It was 
the second week in May. On their arrival in 
New York, Noyes felt troubled in his mind about 
the doings of his disciple, Abram C. Smith, at 
Bondout Creek, where things were looking rather 
black. Mrs. Abram C. was not the kind of woman 
to bear her injuries in peace ; in fact, she had 
made so loud a noise about her wrongs, that the 
rough woodmen and watermen of Rondout village 
had been stung into threats of crossing the creek 
in boats and making a midnight call on the 
Saints. Noyes had heard some rumour of these 
threats. " Anyhow," he said to his two friends 


in New York, " I am afraid there is mischief at 
work in Smith's family," and hinted that they 
would do well in going up the Hudson river to 
that place. Noyes arrived at Rondout Creek in 
time to prevent loss of life ; for a warrant had 
been issued that day in Kingston, the nearest 
town, against the Rev. Abram C. for a breach of 
the peace in turning his wife out-of-doors ; and 
the whole population of Rondout village was arm- 
ing itself with axe and torch, with tar and feathers, 
to redress the woman's wrongs. An attack on 
the stone house was expected every hour. What 
was to be done ? Should they stand their ground 
and fight it out with the mob ? Abram C. was all 
for war. To barricade the house, to arm his people, 
and to resist his invaders to the death, would 
have been his policy. Noyes took the opposite 
ground — Peace with the outside world, criticism and 
sincerity among yourselves, was his prompt advice. 
News flew across the Creek into the village that 
■a peacemaker was at work, and no one stirred 
against the house that night. Noyes recommended 
Abram to submit ; to obey the judge's warrant ; 
and, in fact, to go across to Kingston and deliver 
himself up. Smith was rude and stiff; but in the 
end he saw that unless he gave way to the police 



he would be murdered by the mob. This point 
being carried, Father Noyes inquired into the 
state of things in the house, and rebuked Smith 
sharply for the course he had taken with his wife. 
The facts were then brought out in regard to the 
intimacy which had sprung up between Smith 
and Mary Cragin. The facts were only too clear, 
in whatever way they were to be judged. George, 
I think, came off the worst of the three. To use 
his own words : " They were admonished faith- 
fully, but in love. A claiming, legal spirit in 
me was the scape-goat upon whom the sins of both 
parties were laid. I joined with the rest in de- 
nouncing the spirit of legality, and freely forgave 
Mr. Smith and Mrs. Cragin, considering myself 
quite as much in the wrong as themselves, for 
what had passed." 

Things being placed on this footing for the 
past, the little colony of saints and sinners spent 
the evening in listening to Noyes. He criticised 
Perfectionists generally for a spirit of unteachable- 
ness and a lack of humility. He also commented 
on such passages as these : " All things are lawful 
for me, but all things are not expedient ; all things 
are lawful for me, but all things edify not ;" " Let 
no man seek his own ;" " The law was made for 


the lawless and disobedient ;" " The law was given 
by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus 
Christ." Noyes said he had entered the higher 
school of Christ who taught by grace and truth. 
The lower law school of Moses was still good for 
people who were still barbarians and half-civilised, 
who were yet too coarse to comprehend and appre- 
ciate the power of truth as a refining element. 
When believers are sufficiently refined to receive 
the spiritual truth taught by Christ and Paul, 
it enters into them, changes their disposition, and 
thus secures in them obedience to the divine 

" I felt myself," says George, " richly rewarded 
for all the petty trials I had thus far endured ; 
was willing, I thought, to pay any price for the 
full and free salvation which Christ had brought 
into the world. To forsake all for Him — wife 
included, as well as all other valuables, or what- 
ever our attachments had converted into valuables 
— had now with me a matter-of-fact meaning that 
I was just beginning to understand. When Christ 
said, ' Except a man hate father, mother, wife and 
children, yea, and his own life also, he cannot 
be my disciple/ he fired a ball into the very 
centre and heart of the marriage and family spirit. 


I had been hit, and the egotistical marriage spirit 
was bleeding at every pore." 

The next day Noyes went over with George 
and Abram C. to Kingston, two miles from Ron- 
dout, and settled with the magistrate of that place 
who had issued the warrant for his arrest ; giving 
bonds that Smith should in future keep the peace 
and support his wife. But the bad spirit in the 
village of Rondout was not quelled. Some of the 
rough lads wanted a spree ; and to the wild spirits 
of the river-side very few amusements offered so 
much fun as tarring and feathering a couple of 
preachers in a good cause. Again a council was 
held in the stone house. Noyes, whose voice was 
still for peace, proposed to leave towards evening 
for his home, taking Smith and his eldest daughter 
along with him to Vermont. This plan was accor- 
dingly acted upon. Noyes thought that as the mob 
regarded Smith as the chief offender, his absence 
might pacify their feelings so as to allow of the 
other members of the family remaining in peace. 
And such was the fact. George rowed the company 
to Kingston Point, where they were to embark 
on board a steamer for Albany. On returning 
to the house early in the evening, he found every- 
thing quiet. No demonstrations were to be either 


seen or heard; and George and Mary were now left 
alone — the idolater and his idol. " During Mr. 
Smith's absence," says George, " I had a time of 
repose and sober reflection. My past trials, the 
dangers encountered, the visit from Mr. Noyes, 
and many other stirring events, seemed much more 
like a dream or a story of fiction than a reality. 
The talks, too, given us by Mr. Noyes during his 
brief sojourn with us, brought an influence of life. 
I was reminded of the words of another Teacher, 
who said to a penitent offender, ' Neither do I 
condemn thee ; go and sin no more/ 

" I had been subordinate to Mr. Smith, and 
had confided in him, up to the time of this visit 
from Mr. Noyes. But when I reflected upon his 
return, an unpleasant sensation came over me. 
Had he been the occasion of much suffering to 
me, and was I afraid of more ? After an absence 
of two weeks Mr. Smith was again at home. I 
was much pleased to see him again in our family. 
Mr. Noyes, while with us, advised that there 
should be no further intimacy or special conferences 
between Mr. Smith and Mrs. Cragin ; repeating 
what he had said three years before in the Battle 
Axe letter, viz. ' Woe to him who abolishes the 
law of the apostasy, before he stands in the holi- 


ness of the resurrection/ Believing that the ad- 
vice would be faithfully followed, I looked for 
greater unity and more fellowship than ever be- 
tween Mr. Smith, Mrs. Cragin, and myself. In 
this expectation, however, I was sadly disap- 
pointed. It was but a few days before he com- 
menced a game of hypocrisy, that was carried on 
for weeks before it came to the light. In my 
presence, he would talk in his peculiarly sancti- 
monious or methodistical style, clothing his ideas 
in mystical language, having no other end in view, 
probably, than the blinding of eyes that might 
possibly discover the imposition the tempter was 
inciting him to practise upon comparatively inno- 
cent victims. When alone with Mrs. Cragin, his 
talk was altogether of another type. Before he 
could recover his power over her, he must in some 
way regain her confidence. He was well aware 
that Mrs. Cragin's confidence in Mr. Noyes was 
greatly strengthened by his last visit to us. So 
it would not do to attempt to undermine her 
foundation of firm faith in the leader of New 
Haven Perfectionism. To accomplish his end, 
therefore, he must make it appear to her that, 
he, Smith, had the confidence of Mr. Noyes to 
the fullest extent ;- and, being an adept in throw- 


ing out insinuations and enigmas, he began the 
game by hinting to her that Mr. Noyes virtually 
approved of their past proceedings ; and that his 
late disapproval and public criticism of their acts 
was chiefly for my benefit. 

" While thus playing a successful game in 
winning back his power over my wife, he resorted 
to his old trick of keeping me in a harmless, 
helpless condition, by loading me down heavily 
with hard work, self-condemnation, and evil- 
thinking. Unwittingly he was helping me. The 
pressure thus put upon me stirred up all the 
earnestness within me to find the justification and 
peace of Christ. With my views of the great 
salvation of God, I very well understood that 
i" could not carry the marriage spirit with me 
into the heavenly kingdom, if Mr. Smith could ; 
neither could I avoid making the discovery that 
he was freighting his barge with the same com- 
modity that I was throwing overboard. How- 
ever, my business was now with God, and not 
with man. The victory that I was daily praying 
for was a reconciliation with God, and content- 
ment in His service. And that victory came at 
last. Labouring alone in the field, I had a new 
view of God's infinite goodness and mercy. The 


humanity of God, so to speak, in the sacrifice 
of His only beloved Son on the cross for the 
redemption of the world, was so glorious an ex- 
hibition of His disinterested love, that my egotism 
seemed to vanish like darkness before the rising 
sun. My heavy burdens and great sorrow were 
all gone. I exclaimed aloud, ' My God and my 
Father ! I can suffer for ever, and yet be for ever 
happy in beholding Thy great and pure love to 
mankind/ Evil - thinking of my wife and Mr. 
Smith had been taken from me. I was at peace 
with my circumstances and everybody about me." 




George Cragin did not know how far the thing 
had gone between his wife and the Rev. Abram 
C. Smith. He knew that they had done wrong, — 
done that for which the law would have given him 
swift redress. He did not know that these two 
beings had actually gone through a form of marriage, 
and had pledged their souls to each other for a 
partnership of love, through all eternity. Yet that 
was the fact. The Rev. gentleman had persuaded 
Mary that neither his dead wife nor his living wife- 
was the natural mate of his soul, and that she, 
Mary Cragin, was that mate. Mary seems to have 
striven long against this dogma, though she suc- 
cumbed at last ; and their heavenly bridals had 
been duly performed. 

Late in the summer Abram had to go out 
preaching. Some Saints from Pennsylvania came 
to Rondout, and it was agreed that Abram should 


go back with them to their country, passing 
through New York. Smith desired that Mary 
should accompany the Saints down the river, where 
a week in the city would give her a pleasant 
change. True to his crafty spirit, Abram con- 
trived that the first hint for such a journey 
should proceed from George, who was wrought 
upon by a third person to make it, as his wife 
would not otherwise think of such a course. 
George saw that she wished to go, though, at the 
moment of leaving with these religious friends, 
she paused and sighed, as though she would even 
then turn back. In the end, adieus were said, 
and the parties went on board the boat. 

" When nearly a week had passed," says 
George, "I received a few lines from my wife, 
saying that she intended to leave for home the 
next evening, and should be happy to meet me 
on the arrival of the boat at Rondout. That 
letter, although very short, affected me strangely. 
It was not the letter, but the spirit or magnetic 
current back of it that touched my heart with a 
kind of fervent heat, that melted at once all the 
icy feelings that had imperceptibly accumulated 
toward her. On entering the ladies' cabin, Mrs. 
Cragin met me with a subdued kind of greet- 


ing, yet so affectionate and sincere, that my 
equanimity was at fault, as tearful eyes invol- 
untarily bore witness. I soon discovered, how- 
ever, that there was a heavy burden upon her 
mind, the nature of which she evidently had no 
freedom to reveal ; still the evidence of a return 
of her kindly feelings towards me was indis- 
putable, if my inner senses and emotions were 
to be accepted as proper witnesses in the case. 
But I had so thoroughly disciplined myself to 
the minding of my own business, that I neither 
demanded nor asked for explanations. My sym- 
pathies, however, were silently enlisted in her 
behalf. Could I forget the past?" 

Much to his surprise, he heard, a few days 
later, that the Rev. Abram C, instead of going on 
his mission at once into Pennsylvania, had loitered 
for a whole week in New York. "What had kept 
him there ? Ah, what ? 

Some call of business carried George Cragin to 
New York, and he very properly called on his 
fellow-saints, the Lyveres. When he was entering 
their house, he saw that some great trouble weighed 
upon Mrs. Lyvere's mind. While he was asking 
himself what it could mean, she said : 

" ' Mr. Cragin, the moment you entered our house, 


the impression came upon me that the Lord had 
sent you here that I might have an opportunity of 
unburdening my mind to you. You are aware/' 
she continued, " that Mr. Smith and Mrs. Cragin 
have lately spent a week in the city. They were 
guests of ours most of the time. I had been made 
acquainted with their unusual proceedings at Ron- 
dout last May, and with the subsequent criticism 
given them by Mr. Noyes. I was also aware of 
the promise made by Mr. Smith that there should 
be no repetition of like proceedings or improper 
intimacy between himself and your wife. That 
promise, I assure you, Mr. Cragin, has been broken 
— judging from the evidence of their guilt in my 
possession. Their conduct while here was very 
strange. Your wife did her best to appear cheer- 
ful, and to hide from me the trial that was upon 
her. But she could not. Tears would come to her 
eyes in spite of her will to keep them back, in- 
dicating trouble within. Mr. Smith spent hours in 
talking to her, and at times his language was so 
severe, that it aroused my indignation against him 
to the highest degree. One night I overheard him 
say to her that if she revealed to you their secret 
marriage, it would cause an everlasting separation 
between them. They occupied ' 


" l Stop, stop ! ' I replied, ' I have heard enough. 
Let the details go ; I care not for them. That 
man, that infernal hypocrite has deceived me — has 
lied to me over and over again. But I must keep 
<30ol/ I said more calmly ; ' Mr. Smith himself is a 
victim. The devil, the old serpent that seduced 
mother Eve, is at the bottom of all this mischief 
and wrong. Mr. Smith's abuse of me, and the 
seduction of my wife, are trifles compared with the 
wound Mr. Smith has inflicted upon the sacred 
cause of truth. But I will say no more. I shall 
be at home to-morrow morning; I believe Mrs. 
Cragin will tell me the truth, however much it 
may implicate herself.' " 

During this conversation between Mrs. Lyvere 
and George, the Be v. John B. Lyvere had said but 
little, though the few words which he dropt cor- 
roborated the testimony of his wife. 

With a heavy heart George went on board 
the steamer that was to take him home, to the 
cold stone house at Bondout, to the Spiritual wife 
of Abram C. Smith. He sat on deck all night and 
watched the summer stars come forth. The voyage 
was long; for the vessel had to push her way 
against wind and tide, so that morning dawned 
before she came alongside the tiny wharf. George 


jumped into a canoe, to paddle himself across the 

" The morning sun shone calmly and beneficently 
upon the still waters of the bay, as I entered a skiff 
to row myself to the solitary stone house on the 
opposite shore. As I drew near the landing, only 
a few rods from our dwelling, I saw the slender 
form of my wife standing upon the pier to offer her 
accustomed greeting. But as I approached still 
nearer, so that she could read the countenance I 
wore, the playful smile upon her face instantly 
vanished. With all my mental victories, edifying 
reflections, and good resolves, during a sleepless 
night on the Hudson, I still had the burden to 
carry of a sad, heavy heart. I was a poor hand at 
concealing the state of things within me. My wife 
interpreted at a glance the story I had to tell. 
We met on the shore, and a sorrowful meeting it 
was. ' George/ said my wife, 'you know all; the 
secret is out, and I thank God for revealing it/ 
' Yes, Mary/ I replied, ' lying, like murder, will 
out/ ' I will make a clean breast, now/ she said, 
1 for I can carry the works of darkness no longer/ 
' Wait awhile/ I replied, ' till I get rested/ I could 
not talk. A conflict was going on within. Two 
spirits were struggling for the mastery over me. 


One would reject her and treat her with the icy 
coldness and scorn of the unforgiving world. The 
other would forgive the penitent, and by sincerity, 
tempered with kindness, lead her back to the Rock, 
Christ, from whence she had strayed. The good 
spirit prevailed. We walked to the house like 
two soldiers who had been badly whipped by the 
enemy — cast down, but not destroyed. 'We will 
be brother and sister after this/ I remarked, ' as 
we don't seem to prosper in this warfare, as 
husband and wife/" 

Brother and Sister ! The spirit of the old 
German monks and nuns was upon them. George 
felt that the crisis of his life had come. He knew 
that he had been a sad idolater of beauty, wit, and 
worth. He hoped and prayed that a calmer spirit 
would be his. He felt no more anger in his heart 
towards Mary than he would have cherished to- 
wards a sister who had gone astray and had come 
to throw herself at his feet. 




George continues his story : — 

" The day I returned from New York was long 
to be remembered as a day of confessions. Mrs. 
Cragin voluntarily confessed all that was in her 
heart relating to the intimacy that had existed for 
the past six months between her and Mr. Smith. 
Her revelations were not made to cover up faults, 
but to be delivered from them. She was serious 
and sorrowful, but her sorrow was not of the 
world. While listening to her story, the exhorta- 
tion, ' Confess your faults one to another, and pray 
one for another, that ye may be healed/ came home 
to me clothed with new force and beauty. Indeed 
my own heart was so affected and softened by 
hearing her relate the simple facts in the case 
without manifesting the least disposition, as I 
could see, to screen herself from judgment behind 
the more aggravated faults of another, that I too 


wanted to confess my own weakness and faults, 
and cover up those of others. I realised also, that 
Mrs. Cragin felt, as all true penitents must feel, 
that God, much more than man or society, had been 
wronged by the evil done. When one sees the 
faults of which one is guilty, and has a hatred of 
them, a sincere confession of them to others is, 
virtually, a separation from those faults ; and the 
turning of the heart to God in prayer causes the 
healing power of His love and forgiveness to flow 
in upon the wounded spirit." 

The explanation between George and Mary 
as to what was past, and the understanding 
between them as to what must be, could not be 
all in all. Abram was away from Rondout ; but 
he would, of course, come back ; and from the 
man's nature it was clear that he could never be 
restrained from trying to enforce his rights upon 
the woman who had contracted towards him the 
obligations of a Spiritual wife. 

"The return of Mr. Smith from his mission 
south was looked for daily. I had not thought so 
much about dreading his return, until Mrs. Cragin 
said to me one day, ' George, you can hardly have 
a conception of the terrible dread I have at times 
of meeting that man. The very thought of the 
vol. n. M 


bare possibility of again coming under his power 
is distressing to me/ ' You must put your trust 
in God/ I replied ; ' He can protect you against 
all harm from men or devils/ While thus ex- 
horting Mrs. Cragin to faith and courage, I was 
also exhorting myself to exercise the same, in view 
of the necessity of meeting an old friend in the 
possible character of an antagonist. I sincerely 
felt my inability to cope with a spirit so strong as 
that which I well knew Mr. Smith possessed. 
With prayerful endeavour, therefore, to fortify our- 
selves for what might be before us, we patiently 
waited the issue of coming events. 

"Late on the following Saturday night, the 
family being all in bed, the lights extinguished, 
and not a sound to be heard save the pattering 
rain and the monotonous sound of the incoming 
tide, a loud rap, rap, rap, was heard on the front 
door, which was soon followed by the well-known 
voice of Mr. Smith. The first knock thus heard 
startled the chastened one beside me so suddenly, 
as to cause much bodily agitation and trembling. 
As I left my bed to obey the summons, Mrs. 
Cragin begged of me not to allow Mr. Smith to 
enter the room we occupied. On opening the door 
to let him in, he extended his hand to me, which I 


declined to take, saying as I did so, 'No, Mr. 
Smith, I cannot take the hand of one who has 
so cruelly wronged me;' and then adding, 'Your 
deeds of darkness have come to the light/ His 
only reply was, 'Where is Mary? I want to see her/ 
* You cannot/ I replied. ' Moreover, she absolutely 
declines seeing you, or speaking to you. She has 
revealed all;' and so saying, I returned to my room. 
" Little indeed was the sleep that visited our 
pillows that stormy night. From the tone of his 
voice and the attitude of his spirit, we well knew 
that no conviction of guilt, no repentance of evil 
committed, had overtaken Mr. Smith during his 
absence. We felt, too, that his heart was set on 
war, if need be, for the recovery of his fancied 
rights to the woman whom his delusion had led 
astray. What a sudden change of the position of 
the parties ! Mrs. Cragin was now anxious to shun 
the very man whom, only a few weeks before, she 
had implicitly trusted and loved to adoration. 
'George/ she said to me, 'you must not for one 
moment leave me alone with him. He will invent 
every conceivable plan to see me ; prevent him/ 
I promised to do my best. Thus the night was 
spent, very much, I imagine, as an army spends 
the night in front of the enemy. 


"The morning came quite soon enough, for I 
had to confess the presence of feelings very- 
much opposed to the inevitable conflict I saw 
before me. But as there was no such alterna- 
tive as retreat from the position in which Pro- 
vidence had placed me, I arose with the prayer 
in my heart for grace to do that which would 
please the Spirit of truth. In the course of the 
morning, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Cragin and myself, were 
alone in the sitting-room. Mr. Smith put on a 
triumphant air, inviting no candid talk or inves- 
tigation of his past proceedings ; neither did he 
make any concessions as to the questionable 
wisdom of the course he had adopted, but stood 
firmly and resolutely on the assumed ground that 
he had pleased God in all that he had done ; 
appealing moreover to Heaven, in a presumptuous 
way, for the justification of his deeds. This was 
said, not directly to me, but, as one might suppose, 
to an imaginary audience before whom he was de- 
livering a sermon on self-justification. His manner 
of defence was peculiarly his own, being a com- 
pound of preaching, praying, and ejaculation, in- 
terpolated with singing, amens, and hallelujahs. 
Of course, I was regarded by him with great 
contempt for presuming to sit in judgment upon 


his course and actions. Nevertheless, I stood 
firmly by the judgment I had given, namely, that 
he had been, and was still, under the delusion of 
the devil. I repeated that judgment, whenever 
he addressed me directly, adding very little be- 
sides, regarding it as my main business to remain 
by Mrs. Cragin according to my promise/' 

George could find the strength to make new 
conditions with his idol ; but he could not yield 
her to the reverend gentleman who claimed her 
as a Spiritual wife. 

George tells the story of his struggle with 
the mastering spirit of the Methodist preacher 
in words which I prefer to save. No art of 
mine shall come between the reader and this 
strange confession from a wounded soul. 

" From morning till night the battle thus raged 
with unabated fierceness ; not however in the 
form of combative words, as between two flesh- 
and-blood assailants, but it was the wrestling of 
our spirits with principalities and invisible powers, 
to see which would carry the day. Once, his 
eloquence in preaching and praying might have 
conquered me, as I was, I suppose, easily affected 
by such kind of demagogism, provided the per- 
former had my confidence. But understanding 


for a certainty as I then did, that the person 
thus speaking was not to be trusted, and that 
he was given to deception and lying, he might as 
well have undertaken to melt the Rocky Mountains 
by his declamation, as to move me from my convic- 
tions. Mr. Smith was under the erroneous im- 
pression that the affections of Mrs. Cragin were 
still his ; and that if he could only overpower 
the legal husband, the spiritual one would 
readily and easily recover his lost prize. Hence 
his unceasing efforts. 

" Finally, his zeal began to wane, seeing that 
he was losing rather than gaining ground. So, 
early in the evening, he suddenly changed his 
base, bv declaring that he had made up his 
mind to start immediately for Putney. 'Very 
well/ I replied, ' you could not do a better thing. 
My confidence in Mr. Noyes/ I continued, 'is 
still unshaken. I will submit my side of the 
case to his judgment and decision/ Mr. Smith 
was now pleasant and genial, and in this state 
asked me if I would do him a favour. 'Cer- 
tainly/ I replied, ' what shall it be ? ' ' Write 
a line to Brother Noyes, saying that you cherish 
no unkind personal feelings towards me/ I 
complied with the request. He was then ready 


for the journey, at the same time inviting me to 
row him across the Creek. I did so, and on 
leaving the boat he wished me to give him a 
parting kiss, as a token of my kind regards. 
With this request I also complied. Not until 
I had returned to the house, however, and re- 
ported to Mrs. Cragin this last diplomatic ma- 
noeuvre, did I divine the motive by which he 
was actuated in thus suddenly making love to 
me. He was aware that Lyvere had been sent 
on to Putney as a witness against him. So, 
lawyer-like, he was going fully prepared, as he 
thought, to rebut Lyvere's testimony, by prov- 
ing that he had parted with me on the best 
of terms. I must admit that I felt a little 
chagrined to think I could allow myself to be 
so easily imposed upon after all that had trans- 
pired. However, I did not allow such trickery 
on his part to disturb me seriously, believing as 
I did that Mr. Noyes possessed the discernment 
which would enable him to detect the spirit of 
imposition that would soon confront him." 




George Cragin did not see the face of the Rev. 
Abram C. Smith again for many years. Noyes 
told his once disciple that he was no better than 
a rogue, whom he felt it a duty to denounce before 
all the world. Smith saw and confessed his error ; 
promised to sin no more; returned to Rondout; 
asked his angry wife to come home ; and devoted 
his energies to making money, in which he suc- 
ceeded better than in making love. 

Cragin says of him in parting : 

" He was a man of strong social affections. 
With his first wife he lived peaceably, and was a 
kind husband ; but her affectional nature, as com- 
pared with his own, was icy coldness. Not finding, 
therefore, the satisfaction his ardent nature craved 
in his own family, he gathered up what crumbs 
he could find, to meet the demands of special 
friendship, in the field of his labours as a Me- 

PEACE. 169 

thodist preacher. So that, according to his own 
confessions, he was much more at home in the 
church meetings, which were mostly made up of 
females, than in his own family circle. With his 
second wife, a still greater disappointment afflicted 
him. There was in her no lack of sensuous life, 
but a total lack of religious faith and moral in- 
tegrity, to sanctify it. Hence, in his domestic 
and social relations thus far, he had not realised 
his dreams of connubial felicity. But in forming 
an acquaintance with Mrs. Cragin, he found a 
woman whose nature was pre-eminently affec- 
tional. With large veneration for God and man, 
but with little or no cautiousness, and very un- 
selfish, she soon became all the world, and heaven 
beside, to Mr. Smith. In defending his late con- 
duct, Mr. Smith based his argument on the 
the fanatical assumption that the invisible powers, 
with whom he claimed to be in constant com- 
munication, had given him Mrs. Cragin as his 
true affinity — his spiritual wife and companion, 
to he his in all ages to come, alleging that the two 
previous ones were not adapted to his spiritual 
needs, or, in other words, were not, either of 
them, his true mate. The invisible power who 
thus promised him a choice bit of property, was 


undoubtedly the same infamous and unscrupulous 
speculator who held out very tempting prizes to 
the Son of God. If Mr. Smith's delusion on this 
subject, originated anywhere outside of his mor- 
bid social affections, it is to be attributed to the 
social influences of the nominal church, or to the 
habits of the clerical class of which he had been a 
member, in being associated so much as they 
are with women, as their special co-labourers in 
the religious field." 

Husband and wife, now come into their new 
relation of pious brother and pious sister, had to 
face the world once more; they had been cured 
of their idolatrous love for each other ; but they 
had not yet become free of the question as to 
how they were to gain their daily bread. 

" Mr. Smith having left for Vermont, as before 
stated, the question now came home to me with 
serious emphasis, What is the will of God con- 
cerning my future course ? To learn that will and 
obey it, at the cost of any temporal discomforts 
and sacrifices, was my duty, and should be my 
pleasure. After waiting on God awhile, as a man 
waits on a friend who he is assured has the means 
and the disposition to relieve him, some flashes of 
light entered my mind ; and this light gradually 

PEACE. 171 

increased, until I interpreted its meaning so 
clearly and satisfactorily that I could not do other- 
wise than accept it as the will of my heavenly 
Father concerning the first step to be taken in 
the premises. I said to Mrs. Cragin, ' My mind 
is made up to leave this place, just as soon as I 
can arrange my business to do so, and without 
waiting for the return of Mr. Smith/ 

" ' But where can we go V inquired my wife. 

" ' The light came' from the East/ I replied ; 
1 so I am going first to New York. When there, 
I shall expect directions where to go next. Suf- 
ficient unto the day are the directions thereof/ 

" Mrs. Cragin was almost overjoyed at the pur- 
pose I had formed. The first thing to be done was 
to find an opening for the disposal of our furniture, 
most of which was mahogany, and more costly than 
labouring people could afford to purchase. Our 
nearest neighbour on that side of the Creek was 
a Dutch farmer in fair circumstances. I went at 
once to his house and reported my business. He 
had unmarried daughters. The entire family re- 
turned with me to examine the goods, and the 
result was, I sold them every piece of furniture I 
had to dispose of, at prices that pleased them. 
The love of money was not a vice that I was guilty 


of just then. The crops I had cultivated, and of 
which I was somewhat proud — this being my first 
attempt at farming since my boyhood days — I left 
of course. In less than a week, therefore, from the 
time that I regarded myself as having received 
orders to remove from that station, I had settled 
up all business matters for which I was responsible, 
had my goods that we were to take with us all 
packed, and taken over the Creek to a steamer 
lying at Rondout wharf; and on the second day 
of September, 1840, we took our leave of our 
friends at the old stone house, and were ferried 
across the river to the boat bound for New York." 
Peace returned in time to the bosom of this 
distracted house. In a few days, Mary was able 
to write in her defence to Father Noyes : 

" Since the fatal charm has been dissolved, I 
see how I have been deceived and duped, and 
taught to believe that I was in an inner circle 
where it was right and pleasing to God to do what 
I did. ... I never, in my heart, turned aside from 
the promise I made to you when you were at our 
house last spring. Again and again I asked Mr. 
Smith if you would be pleased with our course 
(for .1 had terrible misgivings), when he assured 
me that you would, and that he himself would tell 

PEACE. 173 

you . . . Guilty as I am, I have been miserably 
deceived and deluded by him. I am reaping the 
curse of trusting in man, and I deserve it. It was 
the instruction I received to lie and deceive, that 
first began to open my eyes. I thank God for the 
judgment that has overtaken me, and is compelling 
me to see my errors, and making me, from my 
innermost soul, condemn them, even if I am to be 
sent to hell at last." 

George adds to this tale by way of final moral : 
" To sum up our experience during this time, 
I might say that for the previous six months we 
had been given over to Satan for the destruction 
of the flesh, having been put into a sort of pur- 
gatory, or deviTs-cure process, for purging us of 
egotism and self-conceit. Being thus greatly 
reduced as regarded self- valuation, we filled a 
much smaller place in the world, after emerging 
from that satanic bath, than ever before, making 
us much more teachable and available to the 
powers above us and for whom we were created, 
than we otherwise could have been." 

Subsequently husband and wife entered, as 
brother and sister in the Lord, very heartily into 
the communistic experiment of Oneida Creek, in 
which Mary Cragin very soon became the vital souL 


Some years later still, she was drowned by a 
boat accident in that very Rondout Creek which 
had been the scene of her trials as Spiritual 
wife to the Rev. Abram C. Smith. 

Many of her writings on religious subjects 
have been published ; and an obelisk has been 
raised above her tomb. 




By way of final gloss upon these spiritual doings 
in the New Pauline Churches of America, I shall 
cite, from a letter addressed to me by Father 
Noyes, the following facts, reasonings, and con- 
clusions, as to what he insists on calling the 
marriage revolution in his own country, now being 
effected through a change in its religious spirit. 
It will be noted that Father Noyes considers this 
coming revolution as a change from democracy to 
theocracy ; from government by a mob to govern- 
ment by a priest ; from the theory of free trade 
and personal interest into that of free love and 
brotherly helpfulness ; from the practice of buying 
in the cheapest market and selling in the dearest, 
into actual Christian socialism ; a change, there- 
fore, which is to transform the political as well 
as the domestic life of his countrymen ! 

In a few places I have altered a word, and 


even struck out a phrase, since the ordinary 
English reader is far less free in the use of terms 
than an American divine ; but I have in no case 
changed the sense, or even veiled the meaning 
meant to be conveyed by the reverend gentleman. 

" Oneida C, March 1867. 

" It is evident from what we have seen that 
Revivals breed social revolutions. All the social 
irregularities reported in the papers followed in 
the train of revivals ; and, so far as I know, 
all revivals have developed tendencies to such 
irregularities. The philosophy of the matter seems 
to be this : Revivals are theocratic in their very- 
nature ; they introduce God into human affairs ; 
the power that is supposed to be present in them 
is equivalent to inspiration and the power of mira- 
cles, — that is to say, it is the actual Deity. In 
the conservative theory of Revivals, this power is 
restricted to the conversion of souls ; but in actual 
experience it goes, or tends to go, into all the 
affairs of life. Revival preachers and Revival 
converts are necessarily in the incipient stage of 
a theocratic revolution ; they have in their expe- 
rience the beginning of a life under the Higher 
Law ; and if they stop at internal religious changes, 


it is because the influence that converted them 
is suppressed. 

" And the theocratic tendency, if it goes be- 
yond religion, naturally runs first into some form 
of Socialism. Religious love is very near neigh- 
bour to sexual love, and they always get mixed 
in the intimacies and social excitements of Re- 
vivals. The next thing a man wants, after he has 
found the salvation of his soul, is to find his Eve 
and his Paradise. Hence these wild experiments 
and terrible disasters. 

" From these facts and principles, quite oppo- 
site conclusions may be drawn by different per- 
sons. A worldly-wise man might say, they show 
that Revivals are damnable delusions, leading to 
immorality and disorganisation of society. I should 
say, they show that Revivals, because they are 
divine, require for their complement a divine or- 
ganisation of society, which all who love Revivals 
and the good of mankind should fearlessly seek to 
discover and inaugurate. 

" The confession of Marquis L. Worden exhibits 
a set of facts which may be called the morbid re- 
sults of Revivals. By studying these cases, we can 
trace out minutely the process by which Revivals 
lead to the evolution of Shakerism. One of the 



most interesting chapters in your New America is 
that in which you give Elder Frederick's view of 
Revivals as breeders of Shaker Societies. You 

" * The Shakers look upon a Revival as a spi- 


ritual cycle, — the end of an epoch, — the birth of 
a new society. Only in the fervour of a revival, 
says Elder Frederick, can the elect be drawn to 
God : — that is to say, in Gentile phrase, drawn 
into a Shaker settlement. Mount Lebanon sprang 
from a revival ; Enfield sprang from a revival ; in 
fact, the Shakers declare that every large revival 
being the accomplishment of a spiritual cycle, must 
end in the foundation of a fresh Shaker union/ 

" This is undoubtedly a true account of the 
genesis of Shakerism. In the narrative of Worden, 
and in the statement added by myself, you are 
taken behind the curtain and shown how the 
converts are prepared for the holy Elders. It 
is easy to see that, if the Shakers had been 
awake to their advantage in 1835-6, they might 
have established new societies in Central New 
York and in Central Massachusetts. Every ele- 
ment of Shakerism was present in the disorders 
of these burnt districts. The Shaker doctrine of 
Perfection was there. The Shaker doctrine of the 


Leadership of Women was there. Lucina Umphre- 
ville was the incipient Mother Ann at the West,. 
and Mary Lincoln at the East. The Shaker 
doctrine of chastity was there. Lucina openly 
declared that Ann Lee was right in regard to the 
true relations of man and woman The original 
theory of the Saints, both at the East and the 
West, was opposed to actual intercourse of the 
sexes as ' works of the flesh/ They ' bundled/ it is 
true, but only to prove by trial their power 
against the flesh ; in other words, their triumphant 
Shakerism. Doctor Gridley, one of the Massa- 
chusetts leaders, boasted that 'he could carry a 
virgin in each hand without the least stir of 
unholy passion!' At Brimfield, Mary Lincoln 
and Maria Brown visited Simon Lovett in his 
room ; but they came out of that room in the 
innocence of Shakerism. If the Elders had been 
present, and prompt to gather the harvest just 
when it was ripe, before it passed into prurience 
and decay, two new societies at least might have 
been founded. And even in the worst stages of 
the disorder, Shakerism would have been a wel- 
come refuge from the reactions and tribulations 
that followed the excitement. 

" But the Shakers must not flatter themselves 


that their societies are the only births that come of 
Revivals. Mormonism, doubtless, came out of the 
same fertile soil. Joe Smith began his career in 
central New York, among a population that was 
fermenting with the hope of the Millennium, and 
at a time when the great National Revival was 
going forth in its strength. The order of things 
in this birth was the same that we have seen 
among the bundling Perfectionists, — first, Re- 
ligion ; then Socialism : Revivals and conversions 
of souls leading the way to Spiritual Wifehood, 
and finally to Polygamy. The completion of the 
sequence in this case seems to have taken two 
generations of leaders ; Joe Smith laid the re- 
ligious foundations, and Brigham Young has per- 
fected the polygamy. 

" The underlying principle here, as everywhere, 
is that which I started at first : — Revivals are in 
their nature theocratic ; and a theocracy has an in- 
expugnable tendency to enter the domain of society 
and revolutionise the relations of man and wife. 
The resulting new forms of society will differ as 
the civilisation and inspiration of the revolutionists 

" One dominant peculiarity of the Shakers, as 
also of the Bundling Perfectionists, which deter- 


mined their style of socialism, was, in my opinion, 
the Leadership of Women. Man of himself would 
never have invented Shakerism, and it would have 
been very difficult to have made him a medium of 
inspiration for the development of such a system. 
It is not in his line. But it is exactly adapted to 
the proclivities of women in a state of independence 
or ascendancy over man. Love between the sexes 
has two stages ; the courting stage and the wedded 
stage. Women are fond of the first stage. Men 
are fond of the second. Women like to talk about 
love ; but men want the love itself. Among the 
Perfectionists the women led the way in the bund- 
ling with purposes as chaste as those of the Shakers. 
For a time they had their way ; but in time the 
men had their way. 

" The course of things may be re-stated thus : 
Revivals lead to religious love ; religious love ex- 
cites the passions ; the converts, finding them- 
selves in theocratic liberty, begin to look about for 
their mates and their paradise. H^re begins di- 
vergence. If women have the lead, the feminine 
idea that ordinary wedded love is carnal and 
unholy rises and becomes a ruling principle. Mat- 
ing on the Spiritual plan, with all the heights and 
depths of sentimental love, becomes the order of 


the day. Then, if a prudent Mother Ann is at the 
head of affairs, the sexes are fenced off from each 
other, and carry on their Platonic intercourse 
through the grating. But, if a wild Mary Lincoln 
or Lucina Umphreville is in the ascendant, the 
presumptuous experiment of bundling is tried ; 
and the end is ruin. On the other hand, if the 
leaders are men, the theocratic impulse takes the 
opposite direction, and polygamy in some form is 
the result. Thus Mormonism is the masculine 
form, as Shakerism is the feminine form, of the 
more morbid products of Revivals. 

" Our Oneida Socialism, too, is a masculine pro- 
duct of the great Revival. I might take you 
behind the scenes and show you the genesis of 
Bible Communism. I shall not be likely to find a 
more catholic confessor. But the task is too 
egotistical for me at present ; I will only indicate 
in a general way two or three points of difference 
between my course and that of the bundling 

"First, understand and remember that from 
1834, when the Revival carried me into the con- 
fession of Holiness, till 1846, the birth-year of our 
present community — twelve years — I walked in 
all the ordinances of the law blameless. I have 


told you how near I came to being caught in the 
scandal at Brimfield in 1835, and how I escaped. 
This was my nearest, I may say my only, approach 
to implication in the disorders of that period. I 
was regularly married in 1838, and the files ot 
papers that I published from that time till 1846 
will testify that my face was set as a flint against 
laxity among the Saints. My dealings with 
Abram C. Smith, in. his affair with Mrs. Cragin, is 
a specimen of the spirit in which I acted. I 
repeat that I never knew woman till I was mar- 
ried, and I never knew any woman but my wife 
till we together entered into complex marriage in 

"What then had I to do with the social revolu- 
tions that were going on in that turbulent time? 
I was a leader among Perfectionists. Is it possible, 
it may be asked, that I was an innocent cipher in 
these matters all through that campaign? Not 
exactly a cipher. This is what I did : I looked 
on; I studied; I got the germ of my present 
theory of Socialism very soon after I confessed 
Holiness, i.e. in May 1834. As that germ grew in 
my mind, I talked about it. It took definite form 
in a private letter in 1836. It got into print 
without my knowledge or con&eiii m 1837. I 


moulded it, protected it, and matured it from year 
to year; holding it always, nevertheless, as a 
theory to be realised in the future, and warning 
all men against premature action upon it. I made 
ready for the realisation of it by clearing the field 
in which I worked of all libertinism, and by edu- 
cating our Putney family in male continence and 
criticism. When all was ready, in 1846, 1 launched 
the theory into practice. 

" Enough in this direction. One more general 
remark : 

" It is notable that all the socialisms that have 
sprung from revivals have prospered. They are 
utterly opposed to each other ; some of them must 
be false and bad ; yet they all make the wilderness 
blossom around them like the rose. The scientific 
associations, one and all, go to wreck; but the 
religious socialisms flourish as though the smiles of 
Providence were upon them. What is the meaning 
of this ? I interpret it thus : however false and 
mutually repugnant the religious socialisms may be 
in their details, they are all based on the theocratic 
principle, — they all recognise the right of religious 
inspiration to shape society and dictate the form of 
family life. In this Mormons, Shakers, and Bible- 
Communists agree. I believe this to be a true 


principle and one that is dear to the heavens. For 
the sake of this principle, it seems to me that the 
invisible government has favoured even Popery 
and Mohammedanism; and I expect that this 
principle and not Republicanism, (the mere power 
of human Law), will at last triumph in some form 
here and throughout the world. 

" John H. Noyes." 




I have given these words of Father Noyes on the 
origin of Spiritual wifehood in America, because, 
since this reverend gentleman is one of the chief 
founders of Pauline Socialism in that country, his 
opinions have a certain value in this connexion as 

I must, however, guard myself against any 
such inference as that, in my judgment, Father 
Noyes has given in this statement a complete 
view of the matter. Like nearly all American 
divines, he fancies that the doctrine of natural 
mates, between whom alone there can be true 
wedlock of the soul, is a growth and property of 
the Western soil ; a product of the highest form 
of New-England Puritanism, having its root in 
the stony ground about Plymouth Rock. To 
such a theory, an historian of the Gothic family 
would certainly demur ; whether the origin of 


Spiritual wives were traced to Sydney Bigdon, 
Hiram Sheldon, or John H. Noyes. In the 
United States, this doctrine of spirit-brides has 
found an open field and a multitude of con- 
verts ; and enjoys in that republic the advan- 
tages of a free pulpit and a free press. No 
rationalistic Ober-Prasident could silence a New 
York Ebel; no trimming bishop could remove a 
Massachusetts Prince. In America, the preachers 
find an open field, if they find no favour; hence 
the quick and wide success which may greet a 
new and seductive doctrine like that of Spiritual 
wives. But this doctrine crossed the seas from 
Europe to America; and although it can hardly 
boast of such grand results in Germany and in 
England as it shows in both the religious circles 
and the rationalistic societies of the United 
States, yet some traces of its presence may be 
found in our day, in every country peopled by 
men of Teutonic race. 

The doctrine of Natural Mates and Spiritual 
Love between the sexes is an old Gothic doctrine ; 
one which published itself in the great Fraternity 
of the Free Spirit ; which startled mankind in the 
conduct of John of Leyden ; which appeared in the 
sermons and the practices of Ann Lee ; which took 


a special form in the speculations of Emmanuel 
Swedenborg ; which found a voice in the artistic 
work of Wolfgang von Gothe. This doctrine 
was known in Augsburg and Leyden, in Man- 
chester and Stockholm, in Frankfort and Weimar, 
long before it was heard of in New Haven and 
New York. 

From the days in which those Brethren of the 
Free Spirit tendered to their sisters in the Lord 
the seraphic kiss of Spiritual love, until our own 
times, when that soft and perilous privilege was 
revived in many distant places ; first, by the 
Mucker at Konigsberg, then by the Princeites 
at Weymouth, afterwards by the Pauline social- 
ists of Brimfield and Manlius ; a constant tradi- 
tion of the superior rights and felicities conferred 
by a marriage of souls, has been preserved 
among the Gothic nations. This tradition has 
proved its existence in many ways ; sometimes 
cropping out in theory, sometimes in practice ; 
here breaking out into license with Hans Matthie- 
son, there dreaming off into fantasy with Jacob 
Bohme. Under John of Leyden it took the shape 
of polygamy; under Gerhard Tersteegen that of 
personal union with the Holy Ghost. Sweden- 
borg gave to it a large extension, a definite form, 


and even a body of rules. Ann Lee made 
use of it in her project for introducing a female 
Messiah, and establishing on the new earth her 
dogma of the leadership of woman. Gothe, who 
seized so much of the finer spirit of his race, 
made this old tradition of Natural mates assist, 
if not the ends of his philosophy, at least the 
purposes of his art. 

Now, the forms into which this old Gothic 
instinct has thrown itself in our own day, are 
mainly two ; one Spiritual, the other Natural ; 
the first finding its best expression in Swedenborg, 
the other in Gothe. Under each of these two 
forms, we have a series of schools and churches 
springing up in the New America, putting senti- 
ment to the proof, and turning dreams into facts ; 
here running into plurality of wives, there into 
denial of the passions, and here again into the 
wildest license of free love. 

The preachers of all these modes of Spiritual 
marriage, profess (with some exceptions, hardly 
worth a note) to find the sanctions of their creed 
and practice in St. Paul ; for while our orthodox 
divines have been weakly shutting their eyes on 
that passage in which the Apostle speaks of his 
female companion, the free critics of America have 


been fastening their own interpretation on his 
words. Yet the texts on which the two main 
schools have severally built their systems of re- 
ligious and social life, may be found much nearer 
home than in the writings of St. Paul. 

The Spiritualistic doctrine lies in Swedenborg ; 
the Naturalistic doctrine lies in Gothe. 

In the new heaven and the new earth imagined 
by Swedenborg, and painted by him with so much 
sensuous colour and voluptuous language, the 
union of male and female is not only a Spiritual 
fact, but the soul and motive of all celestial facts. 
Without perfect marriage, there is no perfect rest 
for either man or woman, even in heaven ; nothing 
but a striving of the soul after distant joys ; joys 
which can never be attained, except by the happy 
blending of two souls in one everlasting covenant 
of love. Heaven itself is nothing without love; less 
than a land without moisture, a field without seed, 
a world without sunshine. Love is its light and 
life. Take away love, and heaven is a blank, a 
waste, a ruin ; for love is the inner soul and 
source of things ; which sends its radiance through 
the world of spirits, much as the sun sends forth 
its heat and light through the world of sense. 
So firmly is this doctrine of the need of a true 


marriage of souls in heaven held by Swedenborg, 
and by those who follow him, that they represent 
the happy man and wife, who have loved each 
other well on earth, and come together in the after 
life, in perfect innocence and ardour, as melting, 
so to speak, into each other's essence ; so that 
these blending souls are no longer visible as two 
angels, but only as one angel ; a glorified and per- 
fect being which appears in both the masculine and 
the feminine form. Nay, so potent is the force of 
love, that the followers of the Swedish seer main- 
tain, not as a paradox, but a high Spiritual truth, 
that the true husband and wife, thus happily con- 
joined, are not merely known to others as one angel 
only ; but appear to themselves as a single being ; 
two in one, a consummate man ; unity in the spirit 
and in the flesh. Such experience, the mystics 
say, is rare on earth, only because perfect love, the 
result of marriage between natural mates, is rare. 

It is alleged by these mystics that, in the 
present earthly life, marriages are seldom made 
from Spiritual motives. Men are tempted into 
marriage, more by birth, wealth, beauty, high con- 
nexions, even opportunity, than by actual prompt- 
ing of the spirit. Men take wives as they take 
partners in business, colleagues in politics. Love 


is treated as a trade. Even under such bad con- 
ditions, many persons go through the matter with 
a decent air ; for, though they soon find reason 
to feel that they are not united with their partners 
in the spirit, they think it well to hide their 
sorrow, and to live in seeming comfort for the 
sake of others — of their kindred, of their children, 
of the world. If they cannot hide their misery 
from themselves, they often succeed in hiding it 
from their prying friends. This sort of tender 
and poetic deceit is useful and even excellent ; 
since, without it, the peace of families would be 
continually disturbed. But it is not the less a 
grief to those who practise it ; and happy are they 
who have no need to pretend a satisfaction in 
wedlock which they do not feel ! 

Those only, adds the seer, who find themselves 
truly mated on the earth, have done for ever with 
these trials and contentions of the spirit. 

Souls may pass away from earth to heaven 
under three different relations of sex and sex. 
(1) They may pass away as children, in the virgin 
state ; (2) they may pass away as men and women 
who have been lawfully married without being spiri- 
tually mated ; and (3) they may pass away as hus- 
bands and wives who have attained to that stage 


of consummate man, in which the male and female 
has become one body and one soul. In each of 
these three relations, the spirit has an experience 
all its own. 

(1) " I have heard from angels/' says Sweden- 
borg, "that when a pair who have been educated in 
heaven from childhood, have come into years, they 
meet in some place by chance. When they be- 
hold each other, they feel by a common instinct 
that they are a pair. The youth says in his secret 
heart, She is mine ; the damsel says in her secret 
heart, He is mine. They accost each other, they 
are happy, and betrothed." 

(2) Nearly all the contracts made on earth, says 
the Swede, are null and void from the beginning, 
because these unions are not made with natural 
pairs. When the man and the woman die, he says, 
they remain consorts for a while in the land of souls, 
until they find that they are truly not of kin. 
Sometimes, in that upper world, the husband quits 
his wife, sometimes the wife quits her husband ; 
now and then they start from each other, like 
opposite currents in a magnetic coil. What had 
made these strangers one in name ? Perhaps they 
had lived in the same town ; their families were 
associates ; they were of corresponding age, sex, 

VOL. II. o 


fortune ; the man was rich, the woman lovely. 
Tish ! cries the sage ; what are these vanities to 
the Lord? After death, externals count for no- 
thing. In the higher spheres no one is richer than 
another, for every soul is heir to an unfading 
crown ; no one stands nearer than his fellow, for 
space is a thing unknown; no one is of higher 
birth than the rest, for every soul is a son of 

In the after-life every one has to seek out his 
mate, make himself known to her by signs, and 
enter upon that bliss which crowns his final 

(3) Happiest of all is he who shall have found 
and won his natural mate on earth. For him the 
joys of heaven have come in his mortal days. God's 
purposes are then wrought out in the living flesh, 
and nothing in the scheme of his existence runs 
to waste. Are there many such perfect unions 
of soul with soul, of heart with heart? Yea, 
many ; for God is bountiful to His children, and 
their perfect bliss may be noted by the dis- 
cerning eye. 

The signs by which you may know a Spiritual 
pair on earth are said to be mainly these three : 
union from an early time in youth ; perfect love 


and unbroken faith towards each other; constant 
prayer that the Lord will make them and pre- 
serve them one in body and in soul. When such 
perfect lovers pass away into a higher state, they 
will come together by a cogent law; and the 
external garments being cast aside, they enter 
gladly into that stage of their spiritual progress 
in which husband and wife can part no more ; in 
which they will exist as a single being — one 
angel of both the male and female type. 

That matches are made in heaven is not a 
pleasantry with the Swedish seer. The Lord, 
he says, provides similitudes for all — if not on 
earth, where things so often arrange themselves 
by chance, why then in heaven, where everything 
comes to pass according to eternal laws, not in 
obedience to the caprice of men and women. 
Nature exists in pairs, and God has given all 
creatures into life, as either male or female, one 
for each — no more, no less. In paradise there was 
one woman, one man. The perfect being, into 
whose nostrils had been breathed the breath of 
life, was parted into two halves ; this half male, 
that half female ; one original, one derived ; each 
necessary to the other, part of the other ; so that 
the two beings which had been separated might 


be considered as having a common life. As it was 
in the lower Eden so it will be in the higher Eden. 
In heaven there are no bachelors, no old maids, no 
monks, no nuns, no pluralists, no celibates, no free 
lovers. Each Adam lives in his Eve, and is content 
in her, — 

He for God only, she for God in him. 

Thus, all the spirits of the just, whatever may- 
have been their lot on earth, will meet and wed 
their proper counterparts in heaven. God has 
provided that for every male soul a female soul 
shall be born, and heaven itself knows no sweeter 
delight than springs from witnessing these re- 
unions of the blest. 




Gothe has dealt with these Gothic instincts and 
traditions in a purely scientific spirit ; though he 
has used them mainly for the purposes of romantic 
art. From him, in the main, the Free-lovers appear 
to have derived both their philosophy and their 
terms. Was the word " affinity " ever used before 
his time for a natural mate? 

Gothe appears to have had a strong belief in 
the existence of some law of male and female 
friendship and kinship higher than our actual 
marriage would in every case now imply. Two 
of his early tales, Werther s Burthen and Free 
Affinities, were undertaken by him in order that 
he might work out his ideas on this point, under 
forms of social life and personal genius properly 
adapted to the end which he kept in view. 

In both these stories, it is clear that Gothe 
sides with the hero who is straining out his life 
against the conventional proprieties and moralities 


of his time ; whence a dull and ignorant cry has 
been raised against these noble works of art as 
dangerous reading for the young ; as if dull and 
ignorant people, wanting insight and imagination, 
would not find the highest literature of every land, 
be it profane or be it sacred — the work of Homer, 
Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes — the Bible, the 
Talmud, the Vedas, the Koran — to be dangerous 
reading for the young! 

In the first of these stories, Werther finds, too 
soon for his peace on earth, not too soon for his 
hope in heaven, that Charlotte is his free affinity ; 
that he and she are natural pairs, born for each 
other, and parted by the accidents of time and 
place. The great discovery is only made on the 
eve of Charlotte's espousals with Albert ; and thus 
the struggle of two souls for a union which can 
never be brought about on earth makes up the 
drama. Werther dies at last in a confident belief 
that Charlotte is his natural mate, and that by the 
law of their common organization she will rejoin 
him in the skies. 

In the second story (Wahl Vervandt-Schaften) 
the same ideas are dealt with in what appears to 
be a more material spirit. Nature supplies the 
bases, science the illustrations of Free Affinities * 


a tale which begins with a discourse on chemistry, 
and ends in the tragic peace of death. 

Gothe appears to have been pondering Plato's 
fancy of the split men. 

With a dry sense of fun, which in its own 
grave style has never been excelled, except, per- 
haps, in the writings of his rival, Francis Bacon, 
Plato describes in the Banquet how the human race 
became originally split into male and female. In 
the good old times, before men grew wicked in 
their thoughts, and heaven became alarmed for 
its own safety, there was no such thing known 
in the world as sex. Every living man was male 
and female ; perfect in form, in faculty, in spirit. 
The form in which he dwelt was a round ball of 
flesh, having four hands, four feet, two faces, and 
one brain. Every perfect thing, it is said by Gothe, 
in passing, has the spherical form, from the sun 
and stars down to a drop of water. Angles are 
defects, and to round one's life is but a way of 
making it lovely. In the sexless period, man, being 
a ball of flesh, was a creature of inconceivable 
strength and swiftness. He could fell an ox, 
outrun a race-horse. When he wished to move 
quickly, he thrust out his four arms and legs, 
and rolled along the road like a wheel with eight 


spokes which had lost its tire. But these strong 
men, of no sex in particular, grew proud before 
the faces of the gods ; so that, like Otus and 
Ephialtus, they made an attempt to scale the 
spheres, and cast the immortals from their thrones. 
Zeus, in his anger, shot his bolts ; cleaving them 
through the head downwards ; parting each round 
wheel of flesh into two halves ; separating the male 
side from the female side. Great was the agony 
and loss of power ; the pain of cutting the two 
sides asunder being intense ; and man, thus shorn 
of # his rotundity, could neither wrestle with the 
lion nor outspeed the elk. Each part of the man 
had now to stand on two legs, — a feat of much 
skill, the art of which he was slow to learn and 
swift to lose. On his four legs he could either 
walk or run, sleep or wake, play or rest. On 
his two legs, he could neither roll nor sleep ; 
neither could he stand very long nor walk very 
far. All his movements became slow and painful. 
Every step which he took only proved to him his 
loss of power, and that the gods had laid upon 
his sin a burden difficult to be borne. 

But this daily misery of the flesh was not 
the worst. Besides having to pass his life in try- 
ing to stand on two legs, man found that he was 


parted from his female counterpart; whom he 
called, in the idiom of grief, his better half and 
his dearer self. When the daring rotundities were 
cleft in twain* the parts were scattered by celestial 
wrath. Each wounded fragment sought its fellow 
in the crowd, but the gods took care that much of 
the search should be made in vain. This last blow 
broke man's spirit. Alone in the world, and perched 
on two legs, what could he do ? Once, indeed — 
for the very worm on which you tread may turn — 
he felt tempted in his pain to cry out against 
Zeus ; but the king of gods rose up in his wrath 
and said, that if man would not keep quiet on 
these green fields of earth, but would storm up 
against the stars, he should be slit once more 
from the crown downwards, so that in future he 
should have to stand on a single leg. Man heard 
these words of the god with a whitened face ; and 
Zeus was not provoked into a second launching 
of his bolts. 

All that was now left to man in his split 
condition, beyond the acute remembrance of his 
former bliss, was a yearning hope of being one 
day able to rejoin his second self. Every man be- 
came a seeker. The god, when parting men into 
halves, had torn the fragments from each other, 


and cast the pieces into chaos. Only a happy 
few could find their mates. Most men had to 
seek them long, and myriads never found them in 
the flesh at all. Strangers came together in the 
press, and for a little while imagined they were 
pairs ; but time detected incongruities of soul, and 
then the wearied spirits flew from each other in a 
rage. When, in the rare happiness of his search, a 
man fell in with his natural mate, a true marriage 
of the spirit instantly took place. To this great 
desire of the severed parts for union, Plato says, 
has been given the name of Love. 

And so, adds the sage, by way of moral, let 
us take care not to offend the gods, lest we get 
our noses slit down, and have to stand in future 
on one leg. 

Gothe, though he may have taken his hint from 
Plato, treated his theory of natural mates in his 
own way ; which was that of material science. 

Eduard and Captain Otto are seated in the old 
Schloss, reading a book of science, when Lotte, 
Eduard's lovely wife, breaks in upon them. 

" You were reading something about afiinities ; 
I thought of two kinsfolk of mine, who are oc- 
cupying my thoughts just now ; but, on turning to 
the book, I see it is not about living things." 


" It is only about earths and ores," answered 

"Would you mind telling me what is meant 
by affinities r asked the lady of Captain Otto. 

" If you will let me," says the Captain, and 
began his lesson : 

" We see that all natural objects have a cer- 
tain relation to themselves. 

" We can make it clear to her, and to 
ourselves," breaks in Eduard, " by examples. 
Take water, oil, mercury ; in each you see a 
certain unity, a connexion of parts, which is 
never lost, except through forces acting from 
without ; remove the force, and the parts become 
one again." 

" That is clear to me," ponders Lotte ; " rain- 
drops run into streams, and globules of quicksilver 
part and melt into each other ; and I see that as 
everything has reference to itself, so it must have 
to other things." 

"True," adds the Captain; "and the nature 
of the relation depends on the things ; which may 
run together freely like old friends, or lie as 
strangers side by side : those blending easily, like 
wine and water ; these resisting every attempt to 
unite them, like oil and water." 


" How like some people that one knows ! " ex- 
claims Lotte. 

" But tliere are third parties in nature," says 
her husband, " by the aid of which, those hostile 
elements may be induced to combine." 

" Yes," continues Otto, " by the help of an al- 
kali, we can persuade water to combine with oil." 

" Is not this power the thing you mean by an 
affinity?" asks the lady. 

" True," says Captain Otto, getting on to 
perilous ground with his fair hearer ; " such 
natures as, on coming near, lay hold of each other, 
and modify each other, we call affinities. The 
alkalies seek the acids, and form in combination a 
new substance. Lime, you know, has the strongest 
ardour for all kinds of acids, and if you give it a 
chance, will be swift to combine with them." 

" It seems to me," says Lotte, pondering, "that 
these things are related to each other, not in the 
blood, so to speak, so much as in the spirit." 

"You have not heard the best," adds her 
husband ; " those affinities which bring about 
separations are of higher interest than the others." 

"Take the case," says Otto, " of limestone ; a 
more or less pure calcareous earth, in union with a 
very delicate acid. If we put this bit of stone into 


weak sulphuric acid, what have we? The lime 
enters into union with the sulphuric acid and be- 
comes gypsum ; the delicate acid escapes into the 
air. This is a case of Free Affinity. " 

Every reader of Gothe knows how the story- 
runs from chemistry into love ; Captain Otto 
coming in, like the sulphuric acid, as a separating 
agent between Eduard and his charming wife ; 
Eduard finding his own free affinity in Fraulein 
Ottilie ; and the four friends who love and respect 
each other making shipwreck of their lives : until 
the two hapless victims of a conventional morality 
are laid side by side in the chapel, where they find 
peace and rest. 




It is an odd fact in the history of this social 
development, that the scientific phase of Free 
Affinities, which in Europe came up later than 
the Spiritual phase of eternal brides, should have 
been the first to establish its empire in the 
United States. 

This scientific phase of Free Affinities came in 
with Robert Owen, and may be said to have taken 
root in the soil under the skilful planting of his son, 
Robert Dale Owen, and that son's fellow- worker, 
Frances Wright. To the socialism taught by these 
preachers, may be traced the various schools of 
Free Love which are now found flourishing in 
Boston and New York. 

About the time when Archdeacon Ebel was 
preparing his marriage-feast for the Lamb in 
Konigsberg, Robert Owen, of New Lanark fame, 
was crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Liverpool, 


with a view to bringing his scheme for the re- 
generation of society under notice of the President 
and people of the United States. Strong in his 
faith, Owen appeared in Washington as the author 
of a new science of life. The President was polite, 
the people curious. Some good men and more 
good women, felt their hearts expand towards his 
dream of a new Eden in the far west ; a paradise 
in which he told them there would be no longer 
any war and crime, because there would be no 
longer any soldiers and police. The great family 
of man was to be governed in future by the law 
of love. Owen's two watchwords, Harmony and 
Association, passed from lip to lip, from page to 
page, through a thousand organs of the pulpit 
and the press, until a host of eager reformers had 
more than half persuaded themselves that the 
world could be saved by a phrase. 

When Owen proposed to buy up the town of 
New Harmony, founded in the wilds of Indiana 
by Frederick Papp as a German religious com- 
munity, he found many friends in Boston and 
New York ready to assist him in the enterprise. 
The Pappites, having failed as a trading society, 
were induced to sell their vineyards, farms and 
shanties on the Wabash river ; and a strong troop 


of scientific socialists marched upon the ground 
pledged to repair a disaster which Owen had felt 
no scruple in describing as the necessary conse- 
quence of trying to carry on human society in 
a religious spirit. 

The Lanark reformer made no secret of his 
own unbelief; in fact, he spoke of the Bible as 
a baneful book; yet he was received by the 
churches, even by those in Puritan New England, 
with a measure of silence and respect. He was 
not a man on whom it would have been wise to 
make open war. His fame was great, his aims 
were lofty, and his life was pure. He had come 
to offer a free people his gift of a new science ; 
and the old conservative churches, wise in their 
reserve and silence, had only to leave the enthu- 
siast and his friends alone. Many who would not 
have listened to Owen's philosophical heresies, were 
anxious that his scheme of fraternal co-operation 
should be fairly tried; and it was only through 
the failure of his plans at New Harmony in 
Indiana, followed by the similar failures of New 
Orbiston in Lanarkshire, and Tytherly in Hants, 
that he passed away, after some years, into 
the dreary list of false pretenders to a mastery 
over the secret resources of social art. 


In the speeches of Robert Owen there was no 
direct assault on marriage as an institution; but 
the attack was scarcely veiled ; since the very first 
conception of a socialistic state is such a relation of 
the sexes as shall prevent men and women from 
falling into selfish family groups. Family life is 
eternally at war with social life. When you have a 
private household, you must have personal property 
to feed it ; hence a community of goods — the first 
idea of a social state — has been found in every case 
to imply a community of children and to promote 
a community of wives. That you cannot have 
socialism without introducing communism, is the 
teaching of all experience, whether the trials have 
been made on a large scale or on a small scale, in 
the old world or in the new. All the Pentecostal 
and Universal Churches have begun their career 
with a strong disposition towards that fraternal 
state in which private property is unknown ; some 
have travelled along that line, adopting all the 
conclusions to which the journey led them } w T hile 
others have turned back in alarm on seeing that 
the fraternal theory was at war with all the sacred 
traditions of home. 

The Shakers founded their societies on the 
ruins of family life. The Mormons, in order to 

VOL. II. p 


save their family life, have been forced to give up 
their inclination towards a common property in the 
Lord. The Princeites of Spaxton have to renounce 
their old ways of thinking when they place their 
feet in the Abode of Love. The Bible Communists 
found their logical term in the doctrine, which they 
adopted, of a common right in goods and wives. 
All the social reformers who have striven to re- 
concile the family group with the general fund 
have failed ; though some of these reformers, like 
the pioneers at Brook Farm, were men of consum- 
mate abilities and unselfish aims. 

For a long time this result of Owen's system 
lay hid ; a thing latent and unnoticed ; it was only 
when the theory came into contact with realities 
that men saw how far the people who rushed into 
these new Edens were driven into the assumption 
of fresh relations with each other, beyond what 
the law allowed. 

Dale Owen (the son of Robert Owen) and his 
female- companion, Frances Wright, threw off the 
mask which had been worn by their party, and in 
the memorable tour which they made through the 
United States, as champions of a new order, they 
boldly put the Bible, and all that has been founded 
on its teaching, under ban and curse ; and in the 


place of these old-world theories, advocated their 
two great doctrines of Free Love and Free Divorce. 
Dale Owen, who settled in America, soon 
became one of its leading citizens ; filling high, 
offices, both at home and abroad — magistrate, re- 
presentative, senator, ambassador — until, by his 
eloquence, his sagacity, and his daring, he has 
come to occupy a position which is unknown to 
the law, and is described, even by men who hate 
him, as that of Privy Councillor to the republic. 
Dale Owen was the soul of the democratic party, 
while that party had a real life of its own. When 
he parted from it, as he did on the questions of 
negro freedom and of female suffrage, the party 
splintered off into a dozen fragments — war demo- 
crats, peace democrats, copperheads, Vallandig- 
hamites, dead-beats, Copper- Johnsons, and the 
like. On every point of policy, Dale Owen stands 
in the front ; so far in front that sober men, lagging 
far behind him in the march, are apt to think he is 
always standing on the verge of chaos. This Privy 
Councillor of the republic pleads for every sort of 
equality ; that of husband and wife, that of Negro 
and Saxon, that of earth and heaven. To him a 
man is a man, whether he be male or female, 
white or black ; and being a gentleman of fine 


presence, of noble culture, and of great intellectual 
power, he has the art of quickly persuading men to 
accept his doctrines. 

But the work which is most of all his own — 
the fruit of his own spirit — was that which he 
achieved in company with Frances Wright. 

This clever and excitable woman had been 
stung into frenzy by what she fancied were 
two great discoveries of her own ; first, that the 
earth is over-peopled ; and second, that the law of 
marriage, now enforced by the church, makes every 
woman who adopts it a slave. She found it was 
her mission to make known these truths, and 
being a charming speaker, as well as a strong 
writer, she chose to make them known from both 
the platform and the press. She was not, however, 
a preacher of despair. Bad as things were, she 
saw her way to a cure for all the evils under 
which the world then groaned. The number of 
mouths to be fed must be reduced ; and woman 
must be freed from her bridal bonds. 

In England, her native country, where she 
first made public her discoveries, people laughed 
at her ; they had heard female lecturers before her 
day, and did not like them ; nay, they had heard 
these very things proclaimed and illustrated by 


men and women of far higher genius than Frances 
Wright. The female reformer would have gone back 
to her knitting in despair, had she not fallen in 
with a true mate of her own belief in Dale Owen, 
who was then about to leave his country for what 
he thought was a new and better world. Female 
teachers were not then a drug on the American 
soil ; and Dale Owen proposed that the eloquent 
rhapsodist should go with him to the United 
States. She went, and she enjoyed a great 
success. In the republic every one was free. 
She brought out a paper, called The Free En- 
quirer; she announced courses of lectures on 
liberty in marriage and divorce ; when the shop- 
women of Broadway, and the ladies of Fifth 
Avenue, ran to hear their husbands denounced as 
tyrants, and their wedding-rings described as 
chains. In that country no state-church could 
frown upon her ; no society could put a stigma 
on her brow. She was free to teach and to preach, 
to reason and to write. All these things she did in 
a way to shock the more pious and conservative 
minds ; yet with so much art that neither she, nor 
her male adviser, was ever treated to the rough 
injustice by which public opinion in America some- 
times supplies the defects of law. Dale Owen 


and Frances Wright were neither tarred and 
feathered, nor set upon a rail, as had been done 
with the Rev. Charles Mead and the Rev. John 
B. Foot. In the northern cities, most of all in 
New York, they began to found a school of re- 
formers, bent on slackening the bonds of marriage ; 
first, by acting on public opinion through the 
press; afterwards by proposing measures of redress 
for injured wives in the local legislative bodies. 

The partners in this crusade against family life 
divided the field of attack between them : Dale 
taking the population question, Frances the mar- 
riage question. Dale Owen wrote a book, called 
Moral Physiology, in which he proposed a new 
theory for limiting the number of mouths to be 
fed. It was a daring book, and many pious people 
denounced it as the spawn of hell ; but the abuse 
of men who were known for their old-fashioned 
virtues only helped it into wider notice. More 
than by any other class, it is said to have been 
read and pondered by the clergy. I have reason 
to think it suggested the vagaries of the Rev. 
Theophilus Gates ; and I happen to know that it 
gave the first hint of his system to Father Noyes. 




While Dale Owen and Frances Wright were 
sowing their seed of scientific socialism through 
the land, Albert Brisbane arrived in New York 
with a gospel of social progress in his hand, which 
affected to reconcile the two hostile principles of 
association and personal property, and both these 
principles with the more sacred dogma of family 
life. Brisbane, a man of high character and re- 
markable powers, had made a journey to Paris, in 
order to study in the best quarters the new system 
of society proposed by Charles Fourier. 

In his own country, Fourier was as great a 
failure as Robert Owen had been in England. But, 
besides this fact of failure, there was so much of 
like nature in the lives and in the systems of 
these two men, that you could almost write a 
history of one in the others name. Owen and 
Fourier were born within a year of each other; 


they sprang from the trading classes ; and the 
only education they received was such as fits 
men for the counting-house and the exchange. 
They both engaged in business, and failed in it. 
They were both induced to study the present 
state of society by noticing the difficulties 
which men find in the way of exchanging what 
they have for what they need. Full of this 
idea, they each went up from the country to 
the capital : Owen to London ; Fourier to Paris. 
Each had the good fortune to find one royal and 
illustrious friend — Owen in the Duke of Kent, 
Fourier in Charles the Tenth. Each was able to 
surround himself with a number of eager and 
obscure disciples, who seized his doctrine with 
applause, and strove to explain it to the world. 
For these regenerators of mankind were equally 
wanting in power of expression and equally poor 
in literary art. Young men and women went 
about preaching their doctrines — Mrs. Frances 
Wright explaining the system of Owen in Eng- 
land, while Madame Clarisse Vigoreux was doing 
the same service for Fourier in France. Each 
saw newspapers born and buried in his cause ; 
each outlived his name and fame in Europe ; and 
each was destined, through disciples, to achieve 


results in the New World which he had been 
unable to secure in the Old. 

Like Robert Owen, the French reformer was 
wholly ignorant of modern science. When he ar- 
rived in Paris he was received by the learned men 
with scorn, and by the witty men with jokes and 
laughter. The blunders in his books are almost 
beyond belief; for, like his female followers, Eliza 
Farnham and Elizabeth Denton, he had got his 
facts about the universe from visions of the 
night. Thus he told his disciples that the stars 
and planets are living beings, like men and women, 
with the same passions and desires, the same 
hunger and thirst, the same fear and anger ; that 
the stars make love to each other, come together 
in bridal pairs, and send their offspring out 
as colonists into space ; that sun, moon, and 
planets, each in turn, has had a part in creating 
what we see of earth ; the Sun having called into 
being on its bosom the elephant, the diamond, and 
the oak ; Jupiter, the cow, the topaz, and the 
jonquil ; Saturn, the horse, the ruby, and the lily ; 
while the Earth produced, by a kind of spon- 
taneous generation, the dog, the violet, and the 
opal. He told his wondering disciples that the 
infant is at birth a mere animal, like a tadpole, 


and has a soul given to it only with its teeth : that 
this soul is subject to two sorts of immortality — 
one simple, the other compound ; that men have 
many lives, of many different kinds, so that in the 
order of nature there is no preference and in- 
justice ; that kings, queens, beauties, scholars, 
princes, judges, and all other persons favoured in 
the present life, were paupers, criminals, and luna- 
tics, in the previous world ; that all those who are 
now condemned by their birth to a life of pain, 
hunger, misery, and disgrace, will, in the next 
stage of existence, live on the brighter side of 
nature, becoming lovely in person as well as rich 
in the gifts of genius and of birth. A few months 
only before Trevethick put his first iron horse 
upon the road, Fourier, lamenting that man has 
no easier and swifter way of travelling from Lyons 
to Paris than by the old French diligence, pro- 
phesied that nature would shortly produce some 
new creatures of the land, the sea, and the air 
called anti-lions, anti-whales, and anti-condors, 
which mighty beasts, fishes and birds, should be 
able, when duly tamed and trained, to draw men 
along at the miraculous speed of thirty miles an 
hour ! 

Fourier died in Paris, in the year 1837, at 


the age of fifty-five, exhausted in body and in 

Such was the grand reformer of society whom 
the brilliant Albert Brisbane introduced in 1842 
to his countrymen by a series of public lectures in 
New York. Horace Greeley, of the New York 
Tribune, opened his pages to the preachers of 
association on this new French model ; meetings 
were held in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, 
Cincinnati, as well as in New York ; and in less 
than a year from the date of Brisbane's landing 
in America, the whole country seemed to be a-flame 
with zeal for this new French gospel. Fourier's 
own writings were not read, and his ideas were 
very little known. Public opinion was not in those 
days strongly opposed to any fair investigation 
of the problems of social life ; but there was in 
this French writer a cynical disregard for domestic 
virtue — as English and American men conceive 
of domestic virtue — which would have jarred un- 
pleasantly on the Puritan mind. Fourier's thoughts 
were given to the public in very small doses ; 
something was concealed, still more was modified, 
not a little was denied. Henry J. Raymond, a 
magnate of the New York press, afterwards so 
famous as the confidential friend of Abraham 


Lincoln, led a fierce attack on this French system ; 
exposing, with a merciless logic, all its offences 
against good sense, and showing that life in the 
phalanx, as conceived by the founder of French 
socialism was opposed in spirit, if not in fact, to 
the existing marriage bond. Greeley, though he 
could not deny that Fourier had contemplated a 
freedom between the sexes hardly consistent with 
a high repute for morality, protested that in the 
phalanx proposed by Brisbane and supported by 
himself, the original plans of the French theorist 
had been so far modified as to bring them within 
the range of American notions of moral right. 
The fact remained, and in time it became known, 
that Fourier's system could not be reconciled, any 
more than Owens system could be reconciled, 
with the partition of mankind into those special 
groups called families, in which people live to- 
gether, a life devised by nature, under the close 
relation of husband and wife, of parent and child. 

More than one experimental search after what 
was called the better life had to be made before 
all the world, including the seekers themselves, 
were brought to admit the failure of this attempt 
to combine associated labour with personal pro- 
perty and domestic life. The first in date, and 


best in means, was a village at Red Bank, in 
Monmouth County, New Jersey ; for which a 
number of New York bankers were persuaded to 
supply the funds. Six hundred acres of land were 
bought for the company ; two hundred of which 
could be easily brought under plough and spade. 
The land was not rich ; but the dressing which it 
most required, marl, was found in two large 
beds on the estate. A stream ran through the 
property, feeding a pretty lake, and serving to 
turn a mill. Clumps of trees, and a deep furrow 
in the ground, made the place naturally pictur- 
esque. Five miles of sandy road led to the 
tidal river, by which there was daily intercourse 
with New York. 

With funds supplied by the bankers, a big 
house was built, on the model of a Saratoga 
hostelry ; with rooms for a hundred and fifty 
guests ; single rooms for bachelors and maids ; 
double rooms for married folks ; and suites of rooms 
for families. There was a common hall, a dining- 
room, a dairy, a kitchen, a store-house, and other 
offices, but no chapel or church. 

Into this settlement of Red Bank, which they 
called the North American Phalanx, a body of re- 
forming zealots, drawn from various fclasses of 

l l •: spnurr al wives, 

society, includiiig an Episcopalian clergyman and 
a Unitarian minister, began to move. They laid 
themselves ont fox a better and a pleasant er life, 
and yet with a strict resolution to make their 
experiment pay. 

The first thing to be done at Red Bank was 
to create a new public opinion on the subject of 
mannal labour ; so that the works which are com- 
monly held in contempt, such as cleaning shoes, 
milking cows, sweeping floors, and serving the 
table, should be raised into the highest order of 
employments. This was not so difficult as it 
might seem. That which is done by the best, 
soon comes to be thought the best A scholar, a 
clergyman, a hanker, were selected to dean the 
hoots and scrub the floors : the girls were called 
into a room, and those who were judged to be the 
loveliest and the cleverest were elected as a great 
honour to wait upon the company. c How did you 
like the service?' I asked a lady in New York, 
who had been a waiter in the Phalanx 'Guess, I 
liked it very much,* she answered : * in the first 
place, all the pretty girls were waiters, and no one 
who thought well of her beauty liked to he left 
out : and then we all dined by ourselves after- 
wards, w^en the stupids were gone, and we used 


to hare great fun.* It turned out just the same 
among the men; and idle fellows who at first 
liked to moon about and smoke, soon came to 
slip into the laundry and beg, as a favour, from 
one of the distinguished shoeblacks, permission to 
polish off a dozen pairs of boots. 

Too much is said to have been effected at Red 
Bank for manual labour, and too little for the 
higher purposes of lif a Religion was put aside as 
obsolete ; and science, in the name of which these 
reformers had thrown themselves upon the land, 
was left untaught An old French teacher, himself 
in want of many masters, was set to train the 
boys and girls in useful knowledge ; but, in truth, 
they learned nothing from him, not even how to 
read and write. 

AH the women at Red Bank wore the short 
skirt and loose trousers invented by the ladies of 
Oneida Creek ; and in the eyes of strangers they 
looked in this attire exceedingly comely and pic- 

The attempt to found a social state in combi- 
nation with the family group began to show signs 
of failure the very instant the settlers reached 
Red Bank ; though the community did not disperse 
until they had spent the best part of their share- 


holders' capital. Single men complained that they 
had to work for children who were not their own. 
Smart young maids perceived that they had to 
bear the burdens, without sharing in the pleasures, 
of married women. Folks with small families 
objected to folks with large ones. What was 
called the division of profits was seen to be a 
joke ; since in most years there was nothing to 
divide ; and when there chanced to be a surplus in 
the till, no fair balance could be struck. When 
the discontent had grown to a sufficient height, 
the bubble burst, Bed Bank was sold to New 
Jersey farmers, and the reformers of mankind re- 
turned with chastened fancies to the humdrum 
routine of city life. 

A still more famous trial in fraternal living, 
was that poetic picnic, so to say, which was pro- 
posed by the Bev. George Bipley, carried out by a 
number of New England men and women, and 
used by Hawthorne as the scene of his Blithedale 
Bomance. Bipley, a man who combines the finest 
culture with the highest daring, told me the story of 
this singular settlement ; in which he was assisted, 
more or less closely, by men no less eminent than 
Charming, Curtis, Parker, Emerson, Dana, Haw- 
thorne, Dwight, and by a woman no less notable 


than Margaret Fuller. A true history of that 
experiment, in which so many lights of American 
literature lit their torches, is a pressing want, 
which it may be hoped that the author of that 
experiment will some day write. 

These young enthusiasts of society were nearly 
all Cambridge men, members of the Unitarian 
Church ; and the movement which they commenced 
at Brook Farm near Boston, was religious, edu- 
cational, and artistic, as well as social. The men 
and women who joined it hoped to live a better 
and purer life than they had done in the great 
city. They wanted to refine domestic manners, 
to ennoble manual toil ; and to some extent they 
achieved these expectations. They did not seek 
to interfere with marriage ; nay, they guarded 
that holy state with reverence ; yet the spirit of 
fraternal association was found to weave itself 
with infinite subtleties into the most tender re- 
lations of man and woman. Fear came into the 
common dwelling ; and even if this picnic of poets 
and lovely women had not been a failure on other 
grounds, the rivalries of Zenobia and Priscilla 
would unquestionably have sent Brook Farm the 
way of Red Bank. 

VOL. H. Q 




There is only too much reason to fear that the 
effect of all this teaching on the part of those who 
sought after the better life — of Dale Owen and 
Frances Wright, of Albert Brisbane and Clarisse 
Vigoreux, of George Ripley and Margaret Fuller — ■ 
was a vast increase in America of those irregular 
unions of men and women which, though known in 
many parts of Europe, are nowhere half so dan- 
gerous to public morals as in the United States. 

When a man and woman either in France or 
England dally with the thought of entering 
into any of these lawless unions, which are known 
in America as a state of Free Love — unions 
contracted freely by the parties, but on a clear 
understanding that they are time-bargains only, 
made to last either for a fixed term, subject 
to renewal, or simply for so long a time as the 
partners please — they know very well that the 


world will not be with them, and that they can 
only live the life they are choosing to adopt under 
a social ban. In their own hearts, such a man and 
woman may be able to find excuses for what they 
do ; they may fancy that they lie under the strain 
of some special wrong, for which the law can yield 
them no redress ; and they may feel that social 
wrong has driven them into setting all social laws 
aside. But they do not pretend to think that what 
they are doing is right, and that the world is false 
and fiendish because it holds up before them the 
chapters of an immutable moral code by which they 
stand condemned. The woman who in England 
claims to be a law unto herself, will yet daily and 
hourly pray to God that her child may never have to 
face that question of acting on the individual will. 
In the United States it is not so. The great 
disparity in the two sexes, which in that country 
makes the female master of every situation, has 
deprived society of the conservative force engen- 
dered by fear and shame. No woman in that 
country needs to care whether she offends or not. 
If she is right in her own belief, that is enough; 
she is hardly more responsible to her lover than to 
her groom. Instead of having all society against 
her, she finds a certain portion of it, and that of 


a class distinguished in some degree by art and 
culture, on her side. Free Love, instead of being 
universally condemned, has in America its poets, 
orators, and preachers ; its newspapers, lecture-halls, 
excursions, pic-nics, and colonies — all of which help 
to give it a certain standing and authority in her 

The poets of Free Love, chiefly females, are 
numerous, but of no high rank in the diviner arts 
of song. Their verse is simple, sensuous, natural, 
with an occasional touch of beauty. Lizzie Doten, 
Fanny Hyzer, T. N. Harris, and G. S. Burleigh, are 
the names of four out of a hundred, who have 
tuned their harps to make music of Free Love. 
One specimen of this poetry may be welcome. It 
is a declaration of love, divided into two parts ; 
one part describing the love that will bless the 
happy pair in free courtship, the second part de- 
scribing that which will bless them in free union. 
The sentiment is scientific. First part: 

" Free Love. 

" I will love thee as the flowers love, 
That in the summer weather, 
Each standing in its own place, 
Lean rosy lips together, 


And pour their sweet confession 
Through a petal's bended palm, 

With a breath that only deepens 
The azure-lidded calm 

Of the heavens bending o'er them, 

And the blue-bells hung before them, 
All whose odour in the silence is a psalm. 

" I will love thee as the dews love, 

In chambers of the lily, 
Hung orb-like and unmeeting, 

With their flashes bending stilly, 
By the white shield of the petals 

Held a little way apart ; 
While all the air is sweeter, 

For the yearning of each heart, — 
That yet keep clear and crystal 
Their globed spheres celestial, 
While to and fro their glimmers ever dart. 

" I will love thee as the stars love, 

In sanctity enfolden, 
That tune in constellations 

Their harps divine and golden, 
Across the heavens greeting 

Their sisters from afar — 
The Pleiades to Mazzaroth, 

Star answering to star ; 
With a love as high and holy 
And apart from all the lowly — 
Swaying to thee like the planets, without jar. 


" I will love tliee as the spirits love, 

Who, free of Earth and Heaven, 
Wreathe white and pale-blue flowers 

For the brows of the forgiven, 
And are dear to one another 

For the blessings they bestow 
On the weary and the wasted 

In our wilderness of woe ; 
By thy good name with the angels, 
And thy human heart's evangels, 
Shall my love from holy silence to thee go." 

" Free Marriage. 

" I will love thee as the cloud loves — 

The soft cloud of the summer ; 
That winds its pearly arms round 

The rosy-tinted comer, 
Interwreathing till but one cloud 

Hangs dove-like in the blue, 
And throws no shadow earthward, 

But only nectar dew 
For the roses blushing under ; 
And, purified from thunder, 
Floats onward with the rich light melting through. 

" I will love thee as the rays love, 
That quiver down the ether, 
That many-hued in solitude, 
Are pure white knit together ; 


And if the heavens darkeD, 

Yet faint not to despair, 
But bend their bow, hope-shafted, 

To glorify the air, — 
That do their simple duty, 
Light-warm with love and beauty, 
Not scorning any low plant anywhere. 

" I will love thee as the sweets love, 

From dewy rose and lily, 
That fold together cloud-like, 

On zephyrs riding stilly, 
Till charmed bard and lover, 

Drunk with the scented gales, 
Name one sweet and another, 

Not knowing which prevails ; 
The winged airs caress them, 
The hearts of all things bless them : 
So will we float in love that never fails. 

" I will love thee as the gods love — 

The Father God and Mother, 
Whose intermingled Being is 

The life of every other, — 
One, absolute in Two-ness, 

The universal power, 
"Wedding Love the never-ending, 

Through planet, man, and flower ; 
Through all our notes shall run this 
Indissoluble oneness, 
With music ever deepening every hour." 


Captain Otto, Gothe's champion of affinities, 
would have been content with these physical sym- 
bols of a passion which so many of us think divine. 

Under the teaching of this sort of song and 
science, a class of American women has been 
brought to confound the moral sense so far as to 
think that it is right for a girl to obey her nature 
as some of the religious zealots say it is right for 
man to follow the leading of the Spirit. When 
one of these emancipated females departs from 
what the world would call the straight line of her 
duty, she claims to be following ' the higher law/ 
and begs mankind to admire her courage and 
applaud her act. Thus, it happens, that a lady 
who prefers to live in temporary, rather than 
in permanent marriage, with the man she loves, 
does not quietly submit in America to a complete 
exclusion from society. She asserts a right to 
think for herself, in the matter of wedlock, as in 
everything else. Is the moral question, she asks, 
of higher note than the religious question? In 
countries like Borne and Spain, she can under- 
stand that any departure of either man or woman 
from the usual rules, should be followed by a 
social curse ; society in such countries being in- 
spired and guided by an infallible church ; but in 


her own free republic, where the law knows 
nothing of a church, either fallible or infallible, 
who has tlfe right to launch a social curse ? If 
a woman is free to make her own terms with 
God, why should she not be free to make her own 
terms with man ? Is heaven of less account than 
earth ? Indeed, does not the higher liberty in- 
volve the lower ? Free love is, she thinks, a 
necessary sequence of free faith. Why, then, in 
acting on her right, should she suffer a social 
stigma ? 

Such are the reasonings and the protests of a 
host of female preachers and writers ; of ladies 
like Frances Wright, Lizzie Doten, and Corah 

The number of persons living openly in this 
kind of free union is believed to be very great ; 
so many that the churches and the law courts have 
been compelled to recognise their existence. 
While I was in Ohio a curious case of Free Love 
occupied public attention. A man and woman 
professing this principle, had lived together in 
Cincinnati, made money, reared a family of 
boys and girls, and then died. They had not been 
married as the law directs. They had simply 
gone to their circle, taken each others word, and 


then begun to keep house. No form had been 
used that could be called a contract. No entry 
of their pledges had been made. It was simply 
said in behalf of these children, that the parents 
had undertaken, in the presence of some other 
liberal spirits, to live together as long as they 
liked. On these grounds the children claimed 
the property left by their parents ; and the court 
of law, after much consideration of the facts, 
allowed their claim. 

Some anger was excited by a decision which 
seemed to put the natural right of these children 
above the legal right. All circles declared the 
verdict a blow against marriage. 

Among the confessions placed in my hands by 
Americans, is a paper by Mr. B. M. Lawrence, a 
Free Lover, of Boston, in Massachusetts, from 
which an extract may be given which will show 
by an authentic case in what way these irregular 
unions, called Free Love Bridals, are made : 


" Boston, Feb. 1867. 

" Having mingled much with the world at large, 
and with the reformers and spiritualists particu- 


larly, and seeing so much of domestic inharmony, 
my mind was made up never to marry, when a 
Bible Spiritual Medium came some miles to meet 
me, sent, she said, like Peter to Cornelius, to 
testify to me concerning the things of the coming 
kingdom of heaven ; and she told me that the 
believers must enter in in pairs, and that among 
the things lacking in my case was a wife ! — that 
I must and would soon find my mate, and, that 
until then I would meet with nothing but dis- 
appointments ; that I would know her soon, as 
we should meet, etc. Sure enough, troubles 
came ; ' fightings within, and fears without.' 
A great fire at Syracuse burnt up the Journal 
office, with, all our bills, cuts, and stereotype 
plates. My partner, Mr. C, left me alone ; and 
I concluded to go to a meeting of the Friends 
of Progress at Stockport, N.Y., and by request, 
I visited the farm of Mr. P., where the women 
work out-of-doors, and they have some of the 
community spirit. 

" Here I met with a young music -teacher from 
Quincy, Massachusetts, by the name of Priscilla 
Jones ; strange as it may appear, I felt that 
she was to become my wife as soon as I heard her 
name spoken ; and two days later, at the foot of 


Niagaras reef of rainbows, baptized by the mists 
of heaven, we pledged ourselves to unite our 
destinies, and work together for human, welfare, 
so long as it was mutually agreeable ; and the 
next Sunday at the close of the convention, we 
publicly promised to live together as husband and 


Mr. Lawrence and Miss Jones, pledging each 
other, and uniting their destinies, under Niagara's 
reef of rainbows, mean no more by this promise of 
living as husband and wife, and working together 
for human welfare, than that he and she will live 
together so long as the fancy holds them ! 

The Free Lovers, who have their head-quarters 
in New York, have various settlements throughout 
the country, in which their principles are said to 
reign supreme. The most famous, perhaps, of 
these settlements, are the villages called Berlin 
Heights and Modern Times. 

Berlin Heights is a village in the State of 
Ohio, in which bands of Free Lovers have settled 
so as to be a comfort and protection to each other ; 
also for the conveniences offered to hapless pairs by 
a large matrimonial exchange. Many people come 


and go, and the population of Berlin Heights, I 
am told, is always changing. No one likes to 
stay there long ; the odour of the place being 
rather rank, even in the nostrils of an emancipated 
female. But the Free Lovers tell you that a 
great many persons sympathise with the free life 
on Berlin Heights, who in their social cowardice 
shrink from writing their names in the visitors' 

A more important society of Free Lovers has 
been brought together on Long Island, near New 
York city, under the odd designation of Modern 
Times. This village was founded by a reformer 
named Pearl, and is considered as the head- 
quarters of the American Comtists ; a body of 
reformers who have taken up the work in which 
Owen and Fourier failed. The dwellers in Modern 
Times come out for every sort of new truth. They 
have put down the past. It is hardly a figure of 
speech to say, that as far as their power can back 
their will, they are ready to repeal all laws and to 
dethrone all gods. They affect the Positive Philo- 
sophy ; and this affectation is the only positive 
thing about them. The ten commandments, the 
apostles' creed, the canons and decrees, the articles 
of faith, have all been abolished, as rags and 


shreds of superstition, in Modern Times. No man 
has a right to intrude into his neighbour's house ; 
for in this home of progressive spirits, conduct is 
held to have the same rights as opinion. What 
have you to do with me and mine ? Inside my 
own door, I am lord and king. What if I take a 
dozen wives? How these ladies choose to live, 
is for themselves, and not for you, to say. What 
business have you to take offence, because they 
do not live according to your law? In Modern 
Times, such questions meet with a soft reply. A 
woman who is fair, a man who is discreet, has 
nothing to fear from the moral and religious pas- 
sions of his fellow-settlers. ' No questions asked ' 
is the motto of Modern Times. 




After these schools of scientific reform had kept 
the stage of public attention for many years, 
insisting with noise and promise on saving society 
whether it would or no, their claim to be the 
true regenerators of their kind was suddenly in- 
vaded by a new class of zealots, who announced 
themselves as a native school of thinkers, not 
the spawn of French and Scottish brains. These 
new-comers were the Spiritualists, who derived 
their gospel from a cobbler of Poughkeepsie, a 
seer of genuine native grit. 

Andrew Jackson Davis, this Poughkeepsie 
craftsman, wrote a rhapsody in four stout volumes, 
which he called The Great Harmonia, and which 
some of his ignorant dupes appear to have thought 
an original work. It was a mere parody of 
Swedenborg's mystical dreams about the true 
heaven and the true earth ; and though it has 


taken the minds of many persons who were bent 
on having a native creed, it must be rejected 
by a critic from the list of primary and seminal 
books. Swedenborg's Arcana Ccelestia, not Davis's 
Great Harmonia, is the true source of American 
Spiritualism. The latter work may have had its 
part in nursing the fantasies of the Spirit-circles ; 
for, while the Swedish seer must be credited with 
much of what is noble and poetic in those circles, 
the Poughkeepsie cobbler may be credited with 
nearly all that is most grotesque and most profane. 
The young dreamers who went out from Bos- 
ton to picnic on Brook Farm, hoping to catch 
some glimpses of the higher life, and prove 
that daily duty could be treated as a fine 
art, were the first to make known in America 
how many lodes of gold lay hid in the illustrious 
Swede's neglected works. Of course the writings 
of Swedenborg were already known to a few 
obscure zealots in Boston and New York; New 
Jerusalem Churches having been founded long ago 
in these cities, and in some other places ; but the 
disciples who had been found by the noble Swede 
in the United States were few in number and 
poor in gifts. No man of mark had joined them. 
Their priests were unlettered, their chapels obscure, 


their journals without talent and without sale. 
The name of Swedenborg was hardly so much 
a power in the country as that of Zinzendorf 
or that of Mack. But Ripley and the little 
band of poets and scholars who went out into 
the desert of Brook Farm, introduced him to 
the intellectual world. In truth, the Swedish 
seer was necessary to these idealists. Fourier, 
a man without love and without a future, was too 
hard and cold a reformer to fill their hearts. As 
a ruler in the kitchen and on the farm they 
thought him excellent ; but a good kitchen and 
a fat farm were not to be all in all with these 
high poetic natures. They wanted a new social 
order, but they could not receive a social order 
absolutely divorced like that of Fourier from every 
connexion with a world to come. 

They found in Swedenborg much that suited 
their frame of mind. The Swede presented many 
sides to a reader. To the godly, he offered himself 
as a teacher of religion ; to the student, as a 
scientific thinker ; to the mystic, as a visionary ; 
to the sceptic, as a critic. Unitarians liked him 
because he hinted that the Father and the Son 
are one. Infidels praised him for rejecting nearly 
half the Bible, and especially the writings of 



St. Paul. To the idealists of Brook Farm lie 
appeared as a great intelligence, which could re- 
concile a phalanx with the higher powers. In the 
combination of Fourier and Swedenborg they fan- 
cied they could see the germs of a new order 
of things, fruitful of good, alike to the body and 
the soul. Hence they made much of Swedenborg 
in their writings. They took from him their 
motto ; they quoted his dreams ; they admired 
his science ; they lauded his imagination ; nay, 
some of the more eminent men among them de- 
scribed him as being at once a great social re- 
former and a great religious seer. Ripley called 
his visions sublime ; Channing coupled him with 
Fourier as a teacher of unity ; Dwight pronounced 
him the Great Poet and High Priest. 

The Rev. Henry James, a Brook Farm en- 
thusiast, who scandalised society by making a 
public confession of his call to the New Jerusalem, 
filled many pages of The Harbinger with proofs 
that there is so little difference between Fourier 
and Swedenborg in practice, that a convert of 
one reformer may admit the other reformer's 
claims ; since Fourier's Passional series (a pretty 
French name for Free Love) might be readily 
made to run alongside of Swedenborg's toleration 


of concubines. In fact, this reverend author, a 
man of very high gifts in scholarship and elo- 
quence, declared himself, on spiritual grounds, in 
favour of a system of divorce, which is hardly 
to be distinguished from divorce at will. 

A still more eminent convert to Swedenborg s 
gospel was George Bush, Professor of Hebrew and 
Oriental Literature ; a man who had received his 
training at Dartmouth and Princeton, where he 
was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian 
Church. Bush's writings on the Old Testament 
give him a high place among Biblical scholars. 
When he became a convert to the Swedish gospel, 
the whole world of New York ran after him ; and 
many of the prophets of failing causes (such as 
the Bev. James Boyle and the Rev. Charles Weld), 
came about him, in the hope of catching some 
sparks from this new celestial torch. Bipley and 
his friends had given the Swedish dreamer pres- 
tige, Bush and his followers gave him popularity. 
Two years after the date of Bush's conversion, 
Swedenborg had become a name of power in the 
schools of Boston and New York. 

It must be noted with care how little the New 
Jerusalem churches had to do with this starting of 
their prophet as a candidate for inspired honours in 


tlie United States. Those old and humble bodies 
were as nothing in the cause. Bush, as a man of 
learning, was disliked and feared by the illiterate 
priests ; and he repaid their hate with open 
scorn and eloquent contempt. When crowds of 
credulous and mystical disciples gathered round 
his pulpit, they came about him, not from those 
tiny chapels which the sect had built in nameless 
streets, not from the colleges and schools of theo- 
logy, so much as from the centres of Naturalistic 
Socialism. Most of his converts were those followers 
of Owen and Fourier, who had failed in the search 
for a better life at New Harmony and Red Bank. 
The hearts of these men were ripe in superstition. 
Fourierites, who had refused to give the Father 
a place in His own world, listened with eager 
trouble to any poor trickster who professed to 
communicate with the unseen world. Owenites, 
who banished from their model societies the very 
names of angel and spirit, received into New 
Harmony every wandering biologist and mes- 
merist who could bring them signs of the exist- 
ence of Satanic life. Dr. Buchanan, one of these 
vagrant operators, had a great success under the 
wing of Dale Owen, who endorsed for the Ame- 
rican public his sleight of hand. A clairvoyant, 


an animal magnetizer, an electro-biologist, had a 
good time, generally, at Red Bank. 

Now Professor Bush caught up in his nets 
these restless souls, who wanted a new gospel 
without knowing where it could be found. Bush 
had such a gospel ready in his hand ; and, being a 
master of the two sacred languages, Hebrew and 
Arabic, and a critical writer on the times of Moses 
and Mohammed, it was not for the ignorant multi- 
tude to think that such a man could be mistaken in 
his text. A crowd of seekers took him at his word. 

Yet, a live country like America could hardly 
be expected to receive, on any large scale, an old 
and worn philosophy from a foreign source, until 
it had been stamped with a new and native 
die. In order to gain free entry into her ports, 
Swedenborgianism had to put on the livery of the 
United States. 

Unlike many perverts, Bush was no textual 
fanatic. If he adopted the great Swede, his adop- 
tion was that of the spirit rather than of the word. 
The narrow bigotries of Salem Chapel, having no 
place in his heart, found no echoes on his tongue. 
Not content, like so many smaller men, to try 
every truth that came in his way by one standard, 
he never dreamed of closing his eyes on sur- 


rounding facts, in fear lest they should grate on 
his sacred text. All truths, he said, would be 
found to go hand in hand ; therefore he kept his 
heart open, like a poet; as keenly alive to the voice 
without as to the throb within. 

A strange wonder came upon New York 
in the tricks of Kate and Margaret Fox, who 
put Buchanan and the electro -biologists to sud- 
den shame. Mysterious raps and. taps, touches 
and sounds, became the fashion. A country in 
which the oldest houses are not a century old 
would seem to offer a very poor field for ghosts ; 
but the spirits which haunt a wigwam and an 
Indian lodge may easily find nooks and crannies 
in a log house ; and therefore, when the ghostly 
taps and thumps which had been heard by Kate 
and Margaret Fox were duly noised abroad, every 
old mill and farm in the province found itself 
suddenly troubled by a ghost. Bush seized upon 
this new marvel, and by his skill and daring got 
the spirits, to which the Fox girls had given a 
voice, completely subject to his will. 

The learned Professor, it must be noted, had 
been long familiar with the story of these ghostly 
sounds, these demon tokens, these angelic visits. 
Swedenborg had spent his life in company with 


spirits. Most of his English pupils had been 
blessed by angelic friends. In fact, the whole 
round of experiences described by adepts in the 
Progressive School of New York to-day was tra- 
velled by the London disciples of the Swede from 
thirty to sixty years ago. These English vision- 
aries were visited by good spirits and bad spirits ; 
by some who chose to rap, by others who preferred 
to write. Samuel Noble, minister of Cross Street 
Chapel, describes himself as having heard raps in 
his room. The Rev. John Clowes professed to 
write his sermons as an unconscious agent of the 
spirits. Bush knew these things, and on the 
strength of this knowledge he put forth a claim 
upon all the ghostly tribe which had suddenly 
leapt into life around him. 

In 1847 he had published a book, in which he 
placed the phenomena of Mesmer side by side with 
the disclosures of Swedenborg; a book which is 
the, true source of all the spiritual circles in the 
United States. 

" The object aimed at/' he explained, " is to 
elevate the phenomena of mesmerism to a higher 
plane than that on which they had been wont to 
be contemplated. The fundamental ground assumed 
is, that the most important facts disclosed in the 


mesmeric state are of a spiritual nature, and can 
only receive an adequate solution by being viewed 
in connexion with the state of disembodied spirits 
and the laws of their intercourse with each other." 
The value of this volume lay in an appendix, 
in which Professor Bush introduced to the American 
public a new and a native seer, in Andrew Jack- 
son Davis, then a young fellow of twenty. Bush 
spoke of Davis in the highest terms ; pledging his 
word that the young prophet was an honest man, 
in possession of the noblest spiritual gifts. In a 
short time Davis quitted his patron and set up 
for himself as a rival prophet, producing the Great 
Harmonia and other bulky works, the substance 
of which was taken from Swedenborg. When 
Bush saw reason to think his young friend no 
better than a rogue, he took up his parable against 
him ; but the shoemaker of Poughkeepsie beat the 
Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature in 
New York ; and the high movement in favour of 
a more spiritual science, which began among the 
poets of Brook Farm, and grew among the Pro- 
fessors of Boston and New York, fell away into 
the widely popular, but in no way intellectual 
societies, which find their gospel in the Great 
Harmonia, their leaders hi Home and Chace. 


The social doctrine of the Great Harmonia is, 
even more than the corresponding passage in 
Swedenborg from which it is derived, hostile to 
marriage ; and nearly all the people who call 
themselves Harmonial Philosophers are found to 
be frequently changing the partners of their joys 
and griefs. 




Davis, the new Yankee Prophet, was a cross be- 
tween the hard Naturalism of Owen and Fourier, 
and the dreamy Spirituality of Swedenborg. In 
what is native — the form and method, not the sub- 
stance of his system — the Poughkeepsie lad was 
racy of the soil and consonant with his time. On 
all the large subjects of man's thoughts, — on love 
and life, on good and evil, on body and spirit, 
on stars and suns, on wisdom and waste, on birth 
and death, on earth and heaven, — he was little 
beyond a faint echo of his great original. What 
was new to him was the heat, the petulance, the 
ignorance, the irreverence of his books. Sweden- 
borg was a religious being, Davis a stranger to 
religious life. The Swede was a reader of the 
Bible, — a respecter of the past. Davis threw 
away his Bible as a Gull's horn-book, and spurned 
all records of our race as so much trash and false- 


hood. To the Yankee Prophet the past was no- 
thing, the present much, and the future more. Last 
year being dead and gone, his hope was in the 
year about to come. His science was crude, but 
his aims were practical. Freedom of the spirit 
meant to him a freedom that could be used. A 
Yankee, he could not spend his life in dreams. 
If spirits came to him at will, he would make 
them work : if grace were given to him, he would 
put it out for gain. Why was he a physician if 
not to cure ? Why was he a prophet if not to 
preach ? Why was he a searcher of hearts if not 
to choose his own ? 

Davis appears to have felt no scruple about 
using his supernatural gifts for his personal gain ; 
since he took fees for medical advice ; and helped 
himself, through his angels, to the very first 
woman whom he chanced to like. 

This lady had the misfortune to be married ; 
but what of that poor shred of legal difficulty ? 
In the Spiritual circles, hearts are no more than 
acids and alkalis, which draw near to each other 
by a natural law ; on the principle which Captain 
Otto explains to Lotte, — that of free affinities. 
Davis found in this married lady his free affinity ; 
and, after her death, he found a second affinity 


of his soul in another married lady, whom he 
claimed from a surprised and outraged husband as 
his natural mate. This second elect ran away 
from her husband, got off to Indiana, head-quar- 
ters of the great Spiritual doctrine of Free Divorce, 
and in that happy land of discontented wives 
found a release from her hateful bonds. 

One of the things which a man in the Spi- 
ritual circles thinks himself most of all free to do 
is to fall in love with his neighbours wife, — if 
the seeking after natural mates can properly be 
termed falling in love. 

From my bundle of cases, two brief narratives 
may be cited in illustration of the way in which 
this spiritual mating comes about : — 


" March 80th, 1867. 

"I was born in the State of New York, and 
moved to the west when I was thirteen years old. 
Our family settled in Wisconsin, and my folks 
became intimately acquainted with a revivalist 
preacher named Berner, whose teachings affected 
me some. He was connected in his labours with 
Charles De Groff, a Spiritualist from New York. 


Afterwards I became a Swedenborgian, and con- 
tinued in that belief for several years. 

"In the spring of 1863, I moved with my 
family to Minnesota, and formed the acquaintance 
of Dr. Swain and his wife. She had been a 
Swedenborgian, and was better versed in the doc- 
trines of that set than I. She was now a Spirit- 
ualist of the school headed by Andrew Jackson 
Davis. She lent me books on the Harmonial 
Philosophy written by Davis, and speedily in- 
doctrinated me into the mysteries of Spiritualism. 
She was a medium possessed of psychometrical 
powers, and under her teachings I soon learnt that 
it is wrong for men and women who are not 
adapted to each other to live together. I had been 
married seven years, and led a life of domestic 
happiness, although my wife never sympathised 
with my religious views. Under the teachings of 
the Harmonial Philosophy, I was led to reflect a 
great deal, and visited Mrs. Swain frequently to 
converse on topics that interested me. My wife 
became suspicious, and charged me with an im- 
proper intimacy with Mrs. Swain. This was not 
the case ; but as time wore on, I gradually expe- 
rienced a diminution of affection for my wife, and 
became more attached towards Mrs. Swain. Mrs. 


Swain said that there was no compatibility be- 
tween Dr. Swain and herself, and that she had 
frequently thought of leaving him. 

" The Harmonial Philosophy teaches in effect, 
that persons who are not ' affinitized' are com- 
mitting adultery in living as man and wife. 
Davis, however, teaches that by proper means, in 
many cases an e affinity' can be brought about, but 
the general tendency of Spiritualism is to separate 
those who are not congenial. 

" During a year and a half I became very im- 
pressible ; in fact a medium ; the invisible guides 
impressed me with many ideas of a religious 
nature, some of which tended to convince me of 
the reality of the Spiritual world. Among other 
things, I became strongly impressed with the 
growing incompatibility between myself and my 
wife ; and, on the other hand, with the growing 
affinity between Mrs. Swain and myself. These 
impressions I communicated from time to time to 
Mrs. Swain, and she in turn told me of similar 
impressions which she had in reference to me. . . . 
My wife had ceased her suspicions. ... I learnt 
from Mrs. Swain that many Spiritualists of note 
had thus sought out their affinities, and had 
abandoned the connexions which were inharmo- 


nious. My course in the matter was determined by 
what I then conceived to be religions duty. Mrs. 
Swain told me of the doings of John M. Spear, with 
whom she was acquainted. He divorced his first 
wife on account of incompatibility, and lived with 
Miss Clara Hinckley with whom he had discovered 
an affinity. He went to England with her. 

" After I had been acquainted with Dr. Swain 
and his wife for two years, I was called by business 
connexions to St. Paul, in Minnesota, where I 
formed the acquaintance of several mediums ; one 
was living with her affinity, another was mis- 
matched and was in search of her affinity. There 
were but two or three families of Spiritualists in 
St. Paul who were not mis-mated. Nine-tenths 
of all the mediums I ever knew were in this un- 
settled state, either divorced or living with an 
affinity, or in search of one. The majority of 
Spiritualists teach Swedenborg's doctrine of one 
affinity, appointed by Providence for all eternity, 
although they do not blame people for consorting 
when there is an attraction J else, how is the 
affinity to be found? Another class, of whom 
Warren Chace is the most noted example, travelled 
from place to place, finding a great many affinities 
everywhere. u Charles q Carpenter." 



" Cleveland, March 25th, 1867. 

" Fifteen years since, while a Universalist 
preacher, I became a Spiritualist ; and speaking 
of myself as an example, I here state that Spirit- 
ualism undermined and destroyed my respect for 
marriage. It led me to look on that institution 
in the light of a doctrine of affinity, and to regard 
it as a union or arrangement which the parties to 
it were at liberty to make or remake to suit their 
own notions of interest and convenience ; in short, 
through Spiritualism, as presented to my mind, 
marriage lost entirely its institutional and authori- 
tative character, and there was substituted for it 
an affinital relation, to exist or be dissolved at the 
pleasure of the parties. This was the theoretical 
view. In process of time, I became what is called 
a Free Lover — meaning by that simply one who 
holds that the individual has the right to make 
and remake his or her connubial relations without 
consulting any authority, religious or legal. This 
always seemed to me, and does now seem to me, 
to be the legitimate result of the doctrine of in- 


dividual sovereignty which Spiritualism unques- 
tionably teaches. 

" My acquaintance with Spiritualists was quite 
extensive until within five or six years past, and 
among those with whom I have been acquainted 
the tendency of thought in regard to marriage has 
been of the same caste. I am also acquainted 
with most of the Free Lovers who have at one 
time or another congregated at Berlin Heights in 
this state, and also with many others who sym- 
pathised with that movement scattered here and 
there throughout the West. And though it cannot 
be said with truth that all Spiritualists are Free 
Lovers, yet it may be said that all Free Lovers, 
with rare exceptions, are Spiritualists. There can 
be no doubt in the mind of any one who has been 
behind the scenes, that among the adherents of 
Spiritualism there are many Free Lovers, prac- 
tically, who would not like to be known and 
reckoned as such. Indeed, of late years, Spirit- 
ualists have been seeking to remove from their 
system the stigma of teaching free love ; and 
yet it is notorious, at least among themselves, 
that some of those who are loudest in denouncing 
that doctrine are practising what they profess to 
repudiate. As I have defined free love above* 

VOL. II. s 


there is an abundance of Free Lovers amongst 

" Among the lecturers and leaders in the 
Spiritualistic movement with whom I have been 
acquainted, I think the greater number have 
either been divorced legally, or have found them- 
selves unaffinitised, — in such cases seeming to 
feel themselves at liberty to go outside of their 
matrimonial relations for the love they could not 
find therein. I could give many names, but pre- 
fer not to do so, because the facts in my know- 
ledge have in most instances been made to me 
in a confidential manner ; so I content myself 
with speaking of the matter in this general way. 

" J. W. TOWLER." 

Thus, by precept and by example, the Yankee 
Prophet has taught his congregation of Spirit- 
ualists and Harmonists — a congregation which 
Judge Edmonds puts at the figure of four millions 
— what he means by liberty of the spirit. The 
practical issue of his teaching is expressed in the 
coarse idiom of New York : — 

"Every man has a right to do what he damned 
pleases !" 




What is the meaning of this singular development 
of religious life in Germany, in England, in the 
United States ? is a question which will present 
itself to every mind. I do not presume to answer 
it. We are only on the threshold of a great study ; 
and a thousand facts may need to be considered in 
the final verdict which are not yet within our ken. 
But on looking back into that fascinating branch 
of the history of our Christian society, which con- 
cerns itself with the inner circle of man's passions, 
we find some hints which may be useful when we 
attempt to penetrate the meaning of what appears 
to some a very sudden and alarming growth of 
noxious things. 

From the Apostles' day downward, the main 
question in every church, so far as the church has 
dealt with the laws of our family and social life, 
has been put in this wise : — What can be done 


with that always fierce and sometimes lawless 
yearning of the heart called love ? 

Man would be an easy thing to govern, if he 
had no desires of the blood to disturb his pulse. 
Passion makes us frail, even while it makes us 
strong. The perfect being, conceived in the brain 
of Plato, had no sex. 

In the East and in the West, in the first 
century and in the nineteenth century, at Jeru- 
salem as at Antioch, in Pome as in Geneva, the 
conservative churches have found themselves in 
front of this disturbing force. In all ages they 
have been compelled to study the means of flank- 
ing an object, which they could not surmount, and 
which seems to have been thrown by nature into 
their path. Most of all, has this been the case in 
Western Europe, where a special reading of the 
sacred text has been combined with some frag- 
ments of a Pagan creed. " Ah," the priests have 
often cried in their dismay, " if man had not been 
created male and female ! " 

On nearly all sides, the existence of a celestial 
order, under which there will be no such rite as 
marriage, has been assumed as one of those points 
about which there could be no dispute. That 
celestial order is said to be the highest state in 


which a created being can dwell. A true church, 
it is supposed, must strive to reproduce that 
heavenly order here below. If we would draw 
nigh unto Him, we must do so on the lines of 
approach which He has laid down. Do we not 
daily ask, as our first boon, from the Father, that 
His will may be done on earth even as it is done 
in heaven ? What is that will, and how is it done 
in heaven ? 

Here lies the germ of nearly all our trouble 
with the higher and nobler longings of the soul. 
What is it that the Father asks from His sons ? 
Is it His will that the household passions shall be 
conquered, that no more young men shall be mar- 
ried, that no more children shall be born ? Some 
teachers hold so ; saying that the word of God is 
clear and strong in favour of a celibate, unpro- 
ductive life. Others, again, perceive a different 
meaning in the sacred text. Before all, and after 
all, it is for us a question of what is meant — a 
point on which the most learned doctors differ, 
since nature and inspiration seem to be here at 

All reasoners admit that the higher and the 
lower worlds described in the Bible, are not the 
same in kind ; and that the beings who people 


them can hardly live by a common rule. In one 
there is no change, in the other there is no rest. 
Heaven feels no waste ; her angels sing to-day as 
they sang in the dawn of time ; and no need exists 
in their blessed state for renewing a life which 
suffers no decline in a million years. Earth, on its 
side, knows no pause ; her children perish, coming 
and going like the flowers, so that her higher, 
equally with her lower forms of life, can only be 
preserved from failure by a delicate play of her 
reproducing powers. When you have waste, it 
would seem that you must have growth. When 
things grow old, they must be redeemed by things 
which are new. Age implies youth, and death 
needs birth. 

Where, then, lies the analogy between that 
higher sphere and this nether orb ? How can the 
things of earth be likened to the things of heaven ? 
Nothing is surer than that a close imitation of 
what is called celestial order, would, in a hundred 
years, restore this globe to the dominion of savage 

Is that an end to be desired by godly men 
in the interest of a nobler law and a better life ? 
Some teachers have not shrunk from saying so ; 
bold logicians, who would rather kill the world 


than deny a text ; but the masses of men who 
are neither saints nor critics, could never be 
seduced by eloquent speech into adopting that 
loveless and joyless theory of a perfect church. 
Love of woman and pride of offspring are too 
strongly rooted in the hearts of men for either 
priest or priestess to pluck them out; except in 
some few chosen cases, where other, and not more 
saintly passions have been planted in the stead 
of this love and pride. 

The Church of Southern Europe made herself 
the champion of this anti-social spirit. She 
adopted slowly, but she held tenaciously, the 
dogma that a celibate life is necessary to the dis- 
charge of ministerial functions. She gradually 
came to look on woman as a snare, on love as a 
sin. She forbade her priests to enter on the duties 
of husbands and fathers. She divided the world 
into two great orders — the sacerdotal and the 
secular ; and she made a rule that no member of 
the sacred class should have anything to do with 
woman in the way of love. Believing in a heaven 
of monks and nuns, she strove to introduce on 
earth a kingdom of monks and nuns. But in 
striving after this image of celestial order she ran 
herself upon a thousand rocks. Even in days when 


she seemed to be working her will on earth, she 
found the trials to which she exposed herself from 
the revolt of human passion fatal to her peace, 
and all but fatal to her power ; for a Church 
depending on logic and authority for its very- 
existence had to patronise a dogma which she 
could not wholly defend, a practice which she 
could not always enforce. 

The first stage of Essenic Christianity, with its 
love-feasts and its common stores, had hardly yet 
passed into oblivion, before the Western Church 
began to trifle with the first principles of domestic 
order, by exalting the ascetic habits of a monk 
into proofs of a higher calling and a nobler virtue 
than belonged to the very best of married men. 
Whence came this anti-social spirit, this war against 
woman and against love ? Not from the Teacher 
of Galilee. Not from His disciples. Not from the 
earliest Fathers. One text, and only one, is drawn 
from the New Testament in favour of separating 
the clergy from the laity — saints by office from 
•sinners by choice ; and that one text, some folks 
assert, is one that tells for the opposite side. 
;St. Paul declared that a bishop should be the hus- 
band of one wife. What Paul meant by these 
words has been much disputed ; one obvious ren- 


-dering is, that Paul addressed his caution to the 
church, not against the right of marriage, but 
•against the wrong of polygamy ; which was then, 
as it had been in olden time, a habit with his 
countrymen, the Jews. It is certain that St. Paul 
desired to have in his model bishop a man who 
was a householder, a husband, and a father. " A 
bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife 
.... one that ruleth well his own house, having 
his children in subjection with all gravity. For if 
a, man know not how to rule his own house, how 
shall he take care of the Church of God ?" Such a 
text lends no support to the Western theory of a 
celibate and separate priesthood ; since it is clearly 
. stated that the bishop must be a householder, like 
other men ; a husband, like other men ; a father, 
like other men. His care in governing his house 
is made the measure of his right to govern in the 
church. Household virtues and clerical virtues 
are recognised as the same in kind. The Apostolic 
Constitutions cite these words of Paul in such a 
way as to imply that, in the third century, a single 
man could not be raised to the sacred office. Paul's 
rule appears to be, that a bishop must be the 
husband of one wife. 

Whence, then, did the notion of a world with- 


out woman and without love descend into the 

In nearly all those Eastern creeds against 
which the new dispensation of our Lord made war, 
there had been more or less of the spirit of renun- 
ciation and asceticism. The Chaldean priests for- 
bade their pupils to eat flesh, to drink wine, and to 
marry wives. The Indian Brahman, after seeing 
his grandson born, was bound to observe the strict- 
est rule : to fast much, to pray often ; to put away 
his spouse ; to relinquish all the pleasures of sense. 
An Essenic Jew considered passion as a snare, and 
in the higher grades of his sect he absolutely forbade 
his scholar to indulge in the weakness of wedded 
love. The priests of Isis were condemned to a 
single wife, though the Egyptian custom, like the 
Hebrew custom, allowed laymen to take as many 
partners as they could get. Among the followers 
of Gotama Buddha, the priests were bound by 
vows of chastity, the breach of which vows was 
punished by degradation from the sacred office. 
The Greeks and Bomans had their vestals, and 
the priests of Bhea had to offer a peculiar sacrifice 
before her fane. 

All such Pagan rites and rules would seem to 
have been foreign, if not hostile, to the new dispen- 


sation ; for the earlier records of the Church con- 
tain ample proofs that for many generations, the 
clergy of all ranks were free to marry, just as their 
secular brethren were free. That proof is sown 
upon the record; not in one place only; but here and 
there, by chance and by the way ; not as evidence 
of a fact, which it had not entered into any one's 
heart to deny ; but for some secondary purpose 
which the writer had in view. This kind of evi- 
dence, as every lawyer knows, is of the very best. 
Polycarp tells a story of Valens, a priest who got 
into trouble on account of his wife. Irenseus men- 
tions a deacon who received Marcus the magician 
into his house, and was punished for his disobe- 
dience to orders by the seduction of his beautiful 
wife. Tertullian's letter to his wife on the duty of 
living in a holy state is well known, and no one 
doubts that when that letter was indited Tertullian 
was a priest. Ignatius speaks of the many blessed 
saints who had entered into marriage bonds ; 
never doubting that a saint was equally a saint 
whether he led a married or a single life. Cyprian 
gives an account of Novatus, a priest who kicked 
his wife in a fit of passion, and was tried for the 
murder of his unborn child. 

To pass from examples to the rules which 


govern them, we may glance at the Apostolic 
Constitutions ; records of the third century, which 
contain full particulars as to the way in which 
the clergy lived. Not one word is said in these 
primitive articles of the Church as to the priest 
being a celibate man. A bishop was to be the 
husband of one wife ; if that wife died he was 
not to marry again ; and this rule applied, not 
only to a bishop, but to a deacon and a priest. 
The article seems to have been directed against 
that vice of all Jewish societies, polygamy ; a vice 
prevailing in Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, 
the three chief centres of Jewish and Christian life. 
For, it is expressly stated in these early Constitu- 
tions, that a bishop, priest, or deacon, being a 
married man at the time of his ordination, is to 
be content with his partner, and not to seek out 
for himself any other wives. If he be single, he 
is to remain so. Men who filled the lower grades 
of the clerical office, — the sub-deacon, the reader, 
the singer, and the door-keeper — were commanded 
to marry no more than one woman ; proof that 
the prohibitions were directed against the pre- 
vailing Jewish error of polygamy, not against the 
primary law of family life. 

In the Apostolic Canons, which present the 


Church rules of a later age, perhaps of the fifth 
century after Christ, we find that some changes 
have crept in, though the spirit of the church is 
still the same. All classes of priests may be 
married men, with homes, but not harems, like 
those unconverted Jews who scandalized even the 
Pagan citizens of Rome. Some signs of a coming 
change are found. It is no longer needful to 
become a husband and father before trying to 
become a bishop. A single man may aspire to the 
highest offices in the church, and the fact of his 
being alone in the world is a point, perhaps, in his 
favour. Singers, readers, door-keepers, and the like, 
are still most freely chosen from among fathers of 
families ; and if such officers chance to be single 
at the time of their election, they receive hints to 
comply with the social rule. Not so, the higher 
ranks. A man who is single when ordained, is 
to remain so ; if married, he is to retain his wife. 
The Church has come to resist all change of con- 
dition as a mere excitement of the spirits un- 
favourable to the chances of a godly life. A wedded 
priest is expressly forbidden to put away his 
spouse. "A bishop or a priest," says the Sixth 
Canon, " may in no wise separate from his wife 
under the pretext of religion ; if he puts her 


away, he shall be excoimmmicated ; and if he per- 
sists, he shall be deprived." 

The social principle and household practice 
taught in these Apostolic Canons have always 
been upheld by the primitive Oriental Church. 




From whatever source it may have been derived, 
the anti-social principle, which regards woman as a 
snare, and repels love as a sin, was adopted in 
Rome. It was not a growth of the soil ; not a 
choice of her own ; since it would seem to have 
been against her genius, as it certainly was against 
her laws. It came upon her from without ; from 
the country which has supplied her in every age 
with spiritual weapons and spiritual ideas ; from 

Spain is a bastard daughter of the East. The 
blood of Tyre and of Jerusalem, no less than 
that of Rome and Syracuse, is in her veins ; the 
Phoenician and the Egyptian, like the Roman and 
the Greek, having left their arts, their inspira- 
tions, and their vices in her soil. Isis, Diana, and 
Ashtaroth, have each a home in that sunny clime ; 
not only in the streets of ^Cadiz, where the names 


are still Phoenician ; not only in the convents of 
Saguntum, where the men still drone a song once 
chanted by the Vestals ; not only in the alleys of 
Granada, where the gipsy dancers imitate, and 
perhaps excel, the lascivious grace of Tantah ; but 
in every city of the south and east ; under every 
vine, and palm, and pomegranate ; in the hearts 
of women, in the fancies of artists, in the reveries 
of monks and priests. Allied in blood and genius 
to the mystic East, Spain has in every age been 
the seed-place of religious passions and religious 
creeds. To her, the Latin Church owes nearly all 
that marks her faith and discipline as things dis- 
tinct from those of the Apostolic age. From her 
fertile soil, came the rule of Celibacy, the practice of 
Auricular Confession, the dogma of the Immaculate 
Conception ; as well as the Mendicant Orders, the 
Inquisition, and the Order of Jesus. Splendid as 
her services have often been to the Church, it is 
doubtful whether Home has not suffered more from 
the friendship of Spain than from the enmity of all 
her Teutonic foes. Always feared, and sometimes 
baffled, by the Holy Chair, Spain has known how 
to bide her time, to wear out her adversaries, to 
seize her occasions, and at length to win her point. 
Her last, but not her greatest stroke, has been to 


force on the reluctant church, after a fight extend- 
ing over many centuries, some part of her old wor- 
ship of Ashtaroth ; the peculiarities of which she 
has hardly veiled under a younger and softer 
Syrian name. 

Spain drew the first black line through the 
•Christian household ; putting the clerk on one side, 
the laic on another side ; dividing men who had 
heretofore been brothers ; and raising that which 
had been a simple calling to the level of a caste. 
She began this work of isolation at Elvira, in the 
year 305, by declaring that no priest should be 
allowed to serve the altar until he had put away 
his wife ! 

These words fell on the Church like flashes 
from the sky. Most of the clergy were at that 
time married men. The love of husband and wife 
was held to be a good and holy thing ; and more 
than half the bishops had entered into the matri- 
monial state. By the canons which then ruled the 
Church universal, a priest was sternly forbidden to 
put away his spouse under any pretext of religious 
scruple ; and one "\ ho persisted in his unsocial act 
was to be suspended and deprived. Of course, in 
so large a body as the Christian church, some dif- 
ference of opinion might be found. Here a teacher 



exalted matrimony at the cost of celibacy; there a 
second teacher exalted celibacy at the expense of 
matrimony ; but no national Church had yet pro- 
claimed that the condition of a husband was a bar 
to the exercise of sacred functions. The principle 
of family life was thought to be divine. To doubt 
the sanctity of honest love, as it exists between 
man and woman, was in some sort to slander the 
goodness of Heaven and the perfection of its work. 
No paltering with this sacred element was suffered. 
A priest who made a pretence of abstaining from 
meat, from wine, and from love, as from things un- 
lawful and unclean, was to be promptly denounced 
and excommunicated by his church. Thus the 
Spanish rule, proposed at Elvira, was, in form and 
spirit, a declaration of war against the whole epi- 
scopate and priesthood. 

Nor was this rule the whole. Ostius, of Cor- 
dova, procured a decree from the Council, to the 
effect that no clerk should have a woman residing 
beneath his roof, unless she were either his sister 
or his daughter, and not even then until such 
woman had taken upon herself a vow of virginity 
for life. This clause appeared to be derived from 
the religion of Diana rather than from that of 
Christ. In the great temple of Saguntum, the 


priests of Diana were bound to take the oaths of 
chastity ; but among the followers of St. Peter, a 
married saint, such vows as had been sworn by these 
Pagan priests appeared to be anything but of God. 
So far as they came into force, these articles of 
Elvira put an end to the old love-feasts, in which 
the sexes had always joined, and brought into dis- 
repute the whole order of ministerial women. Up 
to that day, the preacher had been aided in his 
work and comforted in his home, not only by his 
wife, the mother of his children, but by many 
Marthas and Marys whom he found living in the 
Bethanys to which he carried the torch of gospel 
truth. Now, he was to have his life apart. A wall 
of separation was to divide the layman from the 
clerk. A priest was to have his compensation, 
even as the vestal of a pagan city had her com- 
pensation, in pomp, in dignity, in power ; but, like 
that vestal, he was to flee from love as birds from 
a fowler s snare. The Christian family was to be 
divided, like the worshippers of Vesta and Diana„ 
into a sacred caste and a profane caste, the celibate 
priests constituting an upper order, the married 
laity a lower order; the servants of God being 
protected from the thrall of women as from a trial 
and temptation beyond the strength of ordinary 


men to resist. In fact, an absolute separation from 
the companionship of women, was to be taken in 
future as the sign of a holy life. 

Simple priests in Gaul and Italy heard with 
wonder and laughter of such decrees being passed. 
Elvira was a local council, the articles of which 
had no authority out of Spain ; yet men of serious 
minds, who prayed to have peace and unity in the 
church, would see dark cause for apprehension in 
the rise of such a spirit. Ashtaroth was the dar- 
ling goddess of the south of Spain ; not many 
years had passed since Santa Rutin a and Santa 
Justina, saints so gloriously pictured by Murillo, 
had been torn into shreds by a Seville mob, for 
daring to insult their idol in the street. Who 
could say what was to come? In her Cartha- 
ginian form of Salambo, this popular goddess, the 
queen of heaven, the lady of the crescent moon, 
though called the patroness of chastity, was wor- 
shipped with licentious rites, not in Seville and 
Cadiz only, but in every province of southern 
Spain. Her priests were eunuchs, yet they were 
not chaste. Augustine, who saw these priests in 
Carthage, told the Church that though they were 
celibate men, they passed their lives in practising 
the grossest forms of vice. 


From Elvira, this Phoenician dogma of a celi- 
bate priesthood passed into Gaul, from Gaul into 
Italy, from Italy into Helvetia ; meeting hi every 
place with the same resistance ; sanctioned by one 
bishop, condemned by another ; here gaining 
ground, there losing it ; in one reign denounced 
from the Papal chair, in the next reign supported 
by the same ; gradually rooting itself in the soil ; 
until the conversion of the Gothic races brought a 
nobler genius and a new vitality into the Church 
of Europe. 

From the date of the Gothic conversion to that 
of the Gothic reformation — a period, speaking 
roughly, of a thousand years — the warfare against 
a celibate clergy was conducted mainly by the 
North against the South — mainly, not wholly. 
Thousands of priests in the North adopted the 
Spanish theory ; thousands of priests in the South 
resisted it. Still the battle was mainly fought, 
between the northern and the southern branches, 
of the great Christian flock. Gaul and Italy, 
though they were made the battle-fields of con- 
tending cohorts, counted for little in the fray. 

This fight between the Phoenician spirit and 
the Gothic spirit was long and fierce ; lasting for a 
thousand years, and only ending when the Church 


was rent in twain. It was a fight in which 
woman — her character, her purity, her equality — 
was the prize. 

Is the feminine part of human nature so de- 
graded and degrading that a man who loves the 
society of a wife is thereby unfit to approach the 
altar of God ? That, under all disguises, was the 
actual issue of the fray. 

It is a pastime for philosophical observers to 
note the shifts into which the adversaries in this 
cause are often driven. Spain had to say her 
worst of woman, and she said it with her best 
malice, so that haters of the sex will find in the 
books of her old divines a perfect armoury of 
slander. In their pages a girl was represented as 
a serpent, in which there was a lurking demon. 
At her best she was only a fury and a cheat. 
All the worst things in earth and heaven were 
feminine ; all that were cruel, all that were false, 
all that were heartless ; thus, the Harpies were 
feminine, the Vices were feminine, the Fates were 
feminine. Eve ate the apple, the daughters of Lot 
debauched their sire, Asenath tempted Joseph, 
Bathsheba led David into sin. Concubines were 
the curse of Solomon. From first to last woman 
had been a danger and delusion to the unsus- 


pecting eye. Her heart was vain, her head was 
light ; she was a thing of paint and patches, of 
bangles and braids. Her eyes were bent to entice, 
her feet were swift to go wrong, her words were 
softened to deceive. Her veins were full of fire, 
and those who came near her were always scorched. 
Her thoughts were unchaste ; her mouth was 
greedy for wine ; she threw out her lures to 
entice men's souls. Painted and perfumed like a 
harlot, she sat in the porches and the gateways 
ready to make barter of her charms. All her 
passions were seductive, all her inclinings for evil. 
Her touch was a taint, her very breath was un- 
clean. Nay, the desires of her heart were unna- 
tural and demoniac ; since she preferred a demon 
lover to a handsome youth of mortal parentage, 
and would yield her beauty to an imp of darkness 
rather than to a holy saint. 

Men of Gothic race, on the other side, held 
woman in the highest reverence. Taken as either 
a mother or a wife, they looked on her, habitually, 
as something finer and more precious than them- 
selves. In their simple souls, they imagined that 
the best of men must be all the better for having 
won a good woman's love ; nay, that a wise hus- 
band and father would be more likely to make a 


good pastor, than a recluse who had neither wife 
to soften, nor child to instruct his heart. An old 
and mystic sentiment of their race inclined them 
to believe that women have a quicker sense and 
keener enjoyment of spiritual things than men ; 
hence they never could be made to see how the 
separation of priests from the daily and domestic 
company of women, should work for good. In 
their old mythologies, woman held a high and 
almost a sacred place. She was oracle and seer. 
She stood between men and God ; interpreter, 
mediatrix ; a visible link, connecting the seen 
with the unseen world. Woman was the subtler, 
rarer spirit ; a charmer, a comforter ; while man, 
at best, was but a warrior and a scald. This 
lofty view of woman's place in nature, had been 
brought by our Gothic fathers from the old religion 
into the new ; and none of these men of northern 
genius could let it go. For a thousand years they 
fought for the right of woman to stand in honour, 
as equal and as wife, by the side of priest and 
bishop, just as she stood beside king and poet ; 
urging that in a true Christian society, the clerk 
and laic should be considered as men of one house- 
hold, and that St. Peter's followers should be left 
free to do as St. Peter himself had done. 


Rome, taking part with the nearer race and 
more exacting Church, condemned and swept 
away these protests of the Northern men. Her 
power to censure and coerce was great, because 
her service to mankind had been so incessant and 
so brilliant, that with very little strain of words, 
the world might be said to have come to live in 
her alone ; yet in her struggle to sustain this 
joyless Spanish dogma she fought, at least with 
her Gothic converts, a losing battle ; since she 
had to meet and beat a force renewed by nature 
from generation to generation. In the end, all 
the great churches of Gothic origin cast that 
canon from their door ; but not until they were 
obliged to fling away with it the habits which 
connected them with Rome. 

Ages before Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and 
their comrades, found themselves compelled by 
the public conscience, in their several countries, 
to accept the pledge of marriage, a movement 
had arisen in the North, which extended itself 
into every country then peopled, even though it 
were only slightly, by men of the Gothic race. 

The men and women who made this stir in 
the Church were known by different names ; in 
Germany they were called the Sisterers, in 


Flanders the Beguins, in Italy the Beghardi, in 
England the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and in 
Spain, at a later day, the Spirituistas. Not mnch 
difference can be traced in their views and prac- 
tices. They agreed in rejecting the idea that 
woman is a snare. They agreed in rejecting the 
idea that love is a sin, and family life unfit for a 
minister of grace. They taught that the male 
and female were created one flesh in the Lord, 
and that in the Lord the woman should not be 
separated from the man. They said, in word and 
in deed, that true affection is not carnal, and that 
brethren and sisters may dwell together, not sim- 
ply without offence, but with actual increase of 
their spiritual zeal. 




In our own day, all the high-church movements 
run into some form of spiritual mysticism and 
social innovation. When a revival breaks out, 
the converted man finds himself in a new rela- 
tion to God and to his wife. 

The sentiment which underlies this state of 
mind, long ago heard in the sermons of Ann Lee, 
in the revelations of Swedenborg, in the stories 
of Gothe, has sometimes found a voice in our 
private life, — in the heart of our saddest and 
straitest sects. Who will ever forget the pas- 
sionate words in which Mary Gurney, pleading 
for her name and fame against the loud and 
general condemnation of her guilty flight from 
her husband's house, avowed that she was led 
into what the world condemned as her fatal 
sin by genuine yearning for a truer spiritual 
life than she could find in the staid and tran- 


quil decorum of that husband's home ? All the 
Teutonic seers and scribes have had more or less 
of this mystic sense of a higher sexual affinity 
than that of ordinary wedlock. Swedenborg re- 
ports it as the law of his upper spheres. Gothe 
gives the yearning after such a bliss to Werter, 
and touches with the same delicious tenderness 
the heart of his heroine Ottilie. In all our Gothic 
capitals from Stockholm to London, from Berlin 
to New York — we see a rapid slackening and 
unwinding of the old-fashioned nuptial ties ; to 
the great relief and delight of pupils in the schools 
of Milton and Gothe, — to the very great scandal 
and amazement of men who look on marriage 
and divorce from the point of view held by men 
of the Latin race. 

A man in the south of Europe — a Sicilian ,. 
an Andalucian, a Tuscan — can hardly ever be 
brought to comprehend, much less to approve,, 
the fuss we northern people make about liberty 
of divorce. What, he asks, can it matter to a 
man of sense whether he can divorce his wife or 
not? Thinking but little of his marriage vows, 
on earth, a man in the south of Europe has no 
desire to saddle himself with the weight of a 
partner beyond the grave. In his idiom, and in 


his belief, a wife is an impediment. In his eyes, 
women are much the same ; one female being ex- 
actly like another, — with a difference only in the 
height, the shape, the colour, and the hair. He 
looks on many of them as charming, on most of them 
as false, and on all of them as frail. His poets and 
story-tellers inform him that the man who trusts 
a woman is a fool. If he chances to have a wife, 
it is rare indeed that he chooses her for himself. 
His union is arranged for him by his mother, — 
perhaps by his mother's priest. Love has no 
concern in his choice, and from the habits of his 
country he has no belief that the girl whom he 
makes his wife will regard him in any other light 
than her partner in a family and friendly game 
of chance. He does not mean to be true to her, 
and he hardly expects that she will be true to 
him. He assumes that, in a year or so, she will 
accept the services of a friend — a cavalier — who 
will carry her shawl, escort her to the play, amuse 
her with gossip and scandal, wait on her at mass ; 
and, as he himself aspires to gain some soft reward 
for services of a similar kind in other quarters, 
he can never feel sure, act as he may, that Iago s 
fate will not be his own. What then ? Is it not 
better to shut his eyes ? Some years ago, in 


glancing through a number of marriage contracts 
in Florence, I was struck with what then appeared 
to me a singular fact. Many of these papers 
contained a clause in reference to that probable 
cavaliere servente, which Byron long ago told his 
countrymen they would never be able to under- 
stand, because it is a thing of the Italian race. 
In many of these contracts, a clause was intro- 
duced defining the way in which the young bride, 
still a girl in the cloister, should select her cava- 
lier, when the time arrived for her to act after 
the manner of her kind, so as to make the new 
arrangement for her infidelity pleasant to her lord. 
In brief, the husband was to have a veto on the 
choice of his wife's lover. Was Byron wrong in 
saying that Englishmen would never learn to un- 
derstand Italian life ? 

A man of the Latin race believes it the height 
of wisdom to be patient with a woman's faults. 
Now and then he may flash into jealous rage, and 
when he does so, his ire may be swift and fatal. 
But the husband who draws a knife against his 
rival is regarded, at least in the politer cities, as a 
savage. In one of the finest houses in Florence, a 
pious and gentle woman once told me that no 
Tuscan ever drew his poniard in the cause of love, 


since jealousy was out of fashion, and the man 
who troubled himself about other people's amuse- 
ments, would be thought a fool. Even when the 
knife is drawn against a rival, it is in the name of 
some personal pique, not in revenge for an injury 
felt in the soul. Commonly the injured man 
is willing to dawdle on ; amusing himself in his 
neighbours house, and allowing his wife a liberty 
like his own. How can such a fellow be made to 
understand Gothe and Milton ; to enter into the 
spiritual yearnings of Werther for his mistress, or 
to seize the English poet's passionate plea in favour 
of divorce? What would he gain by any freer 
rule ? Suppose he could put away one pretty 
sinner and take a second in her stead. Would his 
estate be better? Not a whit. The new bride 
would behave exactly like the first. Found for 
him by his mother, by his lawyer, by his con- 
fessor, she would probably be an equal stranger 
to his heart. She might love him for a time, with 
the passionate animal fervour of the South. When 
he fell away in his attentions, she would cool ; 
when she found herself deserted, she would accept 
the consolations freely offered to her hand. Why 
should such a prospect tempt him ? Not feeling, 
like a northern man, the want of a true marriage, 


he has little or no impatience with the false. All 
marriages appear to him the same in kind, — 
the work of kinsmen, priests, and lawyers, not a 
contract of the heart. Who ever heard one word 
of the affections spoken by an Italian on the eve 
of wedlock ? Often, he has hardly seen the girl 
whom he is shortly to make his wife. From 
some male or female agent he hears that she is 
young, accomplished, rich. What more can he 
want ? A nature fitted to his own ? Tush ! 
What he asks in a wife is not a counterpart to 
himself, a soul in harmony with his own, but a 
nice girl, with a good name, a fine estate, and a 
complaisant priest. What cares he for her affini- 
ties and genialities ? These things will arrange 
themselves in time. Enough for him if the young 
lady is likely to give him a son, to be discreet in 
her amours, and not to worry him about going 
with her to mass. 

What is true of this Italian in his private life 
is true, in a degree, of all his brethren in the 
south of Europe. Members of a Christian society 
which makes wedlock a bargain for life, and which 
denies the possibility of divorce, they are only too 
prone to take marriage as they find it, — as they 
would accept either a blank or a prize from the 


wheel of fortune. It is an affair of so much 
money and so much time. It begins to-day ; 
some future day it will end. Meantime there 
are consolations for the weary, — since, when the 
bond is kept to the letter, no one objects to its 
being daily broken to the spirit. Why, then, 
make ado ? 

A man of Gothic blood cannot rest in this 
lax philosophy. Full of subtle sympathies and 
mystic yearnings towards the partner of his soul, 
he throws himself into that future, in which he 
cannot divorce himself, even by the power of 
death, from the object of his present love. The 
family life appears to him sacred, and he can 
hardly think of heaven without having his wife 
by his side to share it. 

But while he sees in this true marriage of 
souls a man's crown of glory, he also sees in the 
false marriage of wives and husbands a man's 
crown of thorns, from which the compassionate 
hand of law should offer him release. Thus he 
passes round to the conclusions of which we read. 
The idea of nuptials for eternity implies the pos- 
sibility of a true and a false marriage ; true mar- 
riage implies the right to seek for the natural mate ; 
and false marriage implies the liberty of divorce. 



This is the circle in which he moves ; and 
hence he may find a certain legitimacy in those ex- 
cesses and aberrations of spiritual love which would 
strike a Gaul as signs of nothing but disease. 

In free countries like Prussia, England, and 
the United States, changes of law must follow the 
actual progress of public thought. Hence, all 
through the north of Europe and America, we 
see that the old laws of man and wife are being 
modified ; the modifications having the common 
purpose of helping to free unhappy couples, paired 
by mistake, from vows which they cannot keep. 
In England, as becomes the most conservative 
branch of the Gothic race, we are moving slowly 
along thig path of change ; we are not yet clear 
about that union of husband and wife beyond the 
grave ; but we are quickened by what we see 
is being done in Germany and America, and we 
shall probably keep in some sort of line with 
these advancing wings of the Teutonic power. 

Perhaps we have hardly come as yet, to see 
how much these strange beginnings of a new life 
are due to a sudden quickening of the Gothic 
blood. Even in things which do not concern the 
family life, we see how this Gothic race in Europe, 
in America, and elsewhere, is stirred to its highest 


reach, and to its lowest depths. Never, perhaps, 
since our fathers came out of their pine-forests, 
and threw themselves into the front of history, 
has the Gothic family shown more stress and 
storm of noble passion than in this present day. 

It doubts, it fights, it pulls down, it builds 
up, it emigrates, it criticises, it invents with a 
power and thoroughness of heart unequalled in the 
past. Everywhere it is gaining ground. Here 
it founds an empire, there it invades the celestial 
spheres. Nothing daunts it — nothing stops it. 
One day it changes Central Europe by a battle ; 
another day it wins America from the Latins by a 
threat. In the social field it is no less active than 
it is in the political field. All the strange social 
trials which in our day excite the brain and scare 
the imagination of timid people are its work. 

Other breeds of men may have very high 
qualities and very noble virtues. No one will 
deny that the Celt has a fire, the Frank a skill, 
the Tuscan a taste, to which their fair-haired rivals 
in Berlin, London, and New York, have scarcely 
any claim. They make splendid orators and sol- 
diers ; their wit being only brighter than their 
swords. In every form of art they hold their own ; 
and in some of the loftiest nights of intellect they 


bear away the palm. But in some things they 
can only pretend to a lower rank. They are less 
susceptible and have fewer relations with the 
world of spirits. It is in these things that the 
Gothic races are rich beyond compare ; in open- 
ness of mind towards all the ghostly messen- 
gers of fate — the voice that shrieks, the touch 
that burns, the form that haunts. Poorer in art, 
but richer in spiritual gifts, than many of their 
fellows, the men of this Gothic race would seem to 
have been armed by nature with the means for 
proving all these theories which concern the 
highest interests of our spiritual and social life. 



I have been led to print Professor Sachs' Evidence in 
full, and in the original, for three reasons. 

In the first place, because this document is full of curious 
and important details, of the highest interest for contem- 
porary history, which personal and political considerations 
have hitherto kept from the public eye. In the second 
place, because it has been made the subject of many com- 
ments on the part of Ebelian writers, particularly on the 
part of Kanitz and Diestel, whose controversial writings are 
absolutely unintelligible to strangers without it. In the 
third place, because, though I have rejected some of the 
facts, and many of the opinions here stated, it is the 
foundation of much of my own narrative. 

In availing myself of the permission to use, including 
permission to print, this paper, and in putting it before the 
reader, I believe that I am serving the interests of truth. 






In der gegen den Herrn Archidiakonus Dr. Ebel schwebenden 
Untersuchungssache bin ich sewohl von dem hiesigen Kb'nigl. Con- 
sistorio, als auch spater von dem Kbnigl. Inquisitoriate als Zeuge 
vernommen worden, nnd von der letztern Behorde vielfach. Eine 
grosse Reihe von Fragen ist mir vorgelegt, nnd von rair mit 
Gewissenhaftigkeit, ohne die mindeste persbnliche Erregtheit be- 
antwortet nnd die Anssage selbst durch einen Eid bekraftigt 

Hiermit konnte ich denn auch die Aufgabe, die mir in dieser 
Sache gestellt war, fiir gelbst halten; denn ich selber habe nicht 
die Aufforderung in mirgefiihlfc, als Klager gegen Ebelund seinen 
Anhang aufzutreten, wie ich denn auch seit den 10 Jahren, die 
ich aus jener Verbindung herausgelost, still und ruhig verlebt r 
weder durch That noch Wort etwas Feindseliges gegen ihn und 
die Seinigen unternommen habe ; ja, von ihnen ausgehendem Un- 
glimpf gegen mich habe ich nichts Anderes als Gleichmuth ent- 
gegengesetzt, den zu erringen mir nicht einmal schwer geworden 
ist. Nur mit vertrauteren Freunden habe ich in dieser ganzen 
Zeit zuweilen iiber jene Verbindungen und ihre grossen, beklagens- 
•werthen Verirrungen gesprochen. Nehme ich nun gleichwohL 


nnd freiwillig das Wort, und zwar urn Einiges mitzutheilen, das 
dem Richter in psychologischer Beziehnng vielleicht dienen konnte, 
so konnte mir dies den doppelten Vorwurf der innern Anmassung 
und der ausseren Unberufenheit zuziehen. Theils aber ist die zu 
machende Mittheilung der Form nach der Art, dass es dem Richter 
ganz anheimgestellt bleibt, ob er davon einen Gebrauch machen 
will und welchen, theils aber — und dies ist fiir mich der Bewegungs- 
grnnd — scheint mir die ganze Sache, von der die Rede ist, eine 
innerlich zu verwickelte, ungewohnliche, mit psychologischen Rath- 
seln so sehr verhiillte, dass jedem, der nicht eigne und theuer 
erkaufte Erfahrungen dariiber besitzt, grosse Schwierigkeiten in der 
Auffassung und Beurtheilung begegnen mussten. Der Ausweg 
aber, in verwickelten moralischen Verhaltnissen sich des Urtheils 
iiber Andre zu entschlagen, ist dem Richter nicht gestattet. Je 
wohlwollender, geistreicher, in vielfachen Verhaltnissen erfahrener 
ich mir den Richter dieses Falles vorstelle, je mehr mit all den 
vorziiglichen Eigenschaften ausgeriistet, die ihn zur Losung dieser 
schwierigen Aufgabe eignen, desto mehr muss ich ihn mir auch als 
einen solchen denken, dem jeder Beitrag zum Orientiren willkommen, 
wenigstens nicht gleichgiiltig sein werde. Ich habe weder die 
Absicht, anzuklagen, noch die, mich zu vertheidigen ; aber ich 
werde von Anderen und von mir sprechen miissen, denn es handelt 
sich von einer Sache, die von den Person en nicht abzulosen ist, ja die 
Sache selbst ist Nichts als eben Verirrung der Personen : sieht man 
von dieser ab, so hat jene gar keine Existenz, keinen Inhalt. Was 
ich mitzutheilen habe, ist psychologischer Art; es bezieht sich also 
auf Seelenverhaltnisse und Seelenzustande; auch von dieser Seite 
her ist von den Personen nicht zu abstrahiren; denn nur was jene 
bedingen, sind diese. — Ein Geistlicher wird angeklagt, ein Irrlehrer 
zu sein, diese Irrlehre aber als Geheimlehre zu bchandeln. In 
dieser Geheimlehre soil nicht bios Vieles enthalten sein, das der 
evangelischen Kirchenlehre widerspricht, die Sittlichkeit verletzt, 
der burgerlichen Gesellschaft verderblich, die Familien zerriittend 
ist, sondern, er soil sich zur Verbreitung seiner Irr-und 
Geheimlehre sehr bedenklicher, ja verfuhrerischer Mittel bedienen. 
Wer sollte die Schwere einer solchen Anklage nicht empfinden, 
und in wem sich nicht unmittelbar die Vermuthung des natiirlichen 
Wohhvollens regen, es wiirde hierbei wohl wenigstens viel Ue- 
bertiiebenes, Missdeutendes sein, vielleicht sogar auch Verfol- 
gung aus bosem Willen gegen wahre Frommigkeit ! Haben die 


Weisen und Frommen nicht von jeher Verfolgung und harte 
Verlaumdung erfaliren ? Sind sie nicht immer angeklagt worden, 
Verfiihrer zu sein ? Und wenn etwa die Erinnerung an 
ahnliche Verirrungen in friiheren Zeiten die Moglichkeit solcher 
Ereignisse ausser Zweifel setzen einen Schritt naher zur Sache 
thun lasst, so muss sich doch bald und zunachst die Frage 
erheben : wer ist die Person, die in unserer Zeit solche Lehre hat 
aussinnen, lehren und verbreiten konnen ? Und wer sind diejenigen 
Personen, die in unserer Zeit einen solchen Einfluss auf sich haben 
ausii ben lassen konnen? Denn allerdings hat es viel Auffallendes, 
dass das in Rede stehende Ereigniss eines unserer Zeit ist; nicht, 
•als wenn ihr namentlich in religioser Beziehnng die Neigung zum 
Falschen der mannichfachsten Art abginge ; von dieser vielmehr 
ist sie nur zu sehr behaftet, und sie gerath in der That eben so 
leicht in den falschen Pietismus, in die falsche Mystik, als in 
falschen Rationalismus, wahrend doch wahre Religiositat Pietat 
ein (geotfenbartes) Mysterium und lautere Rationalitat in vollkoni- 
mener Vertraglichkeit in sich enthalt. Auffallend also und unserer 
Zeit fremd scheint an jenem Ereignisse nur die Physikotheologie, 
die Abenteuerlichkeit des rohen Anthropomorphismus von Seiten 
der Lehre und die Verstecktheit, die jesuitische Methode der 
Praxis. Ueber dieses Problem, das ungelost keinen Zugang zum 
Verstehen der Sache lasst, kann, glaube ich, geniigender Aufschluss 
gegeben werden. 

Ebel — denn dieser ist der Trager der ganzen Sache, jetzt ein 
Mann von etwa 52 Jahren, — ist eine urspriinglich vielfach begabte, 
aber in keiner Weise zu einer reinen Entwickelung gelangte Natur. 
Sein Vater, ein schlichter Landgeistlicher, hat, wie es scheint, 
einen schwachen Einfluss auf seine Erziehung ausgeiibt ; dagegen 
ist sein Grossvater schon ein Schwarmer gewesen, und, wie ich von 
dessen Sohn selbst, dem Vater des in Rede stehenden Ebel, gehort, 
Irrlehren halber vom geistlichen Amte entfernt worden. Wenig 
vorbereitet, ist Ebel auf eine der hiesigen Schulen, die damals alle 
in klaglichem Zustande waren, gekommen, und mit sehr geringen 
Kenntnissen von ihr, wie spater von der Universitat entlassen 
worden. Es ist dies einer der wichtigsten Umstande zu seiner 
Erklarung nicht nur, sondern auch zu seiner Entschuldigung. Er 
ist niemals aus dem Zustande der tiefsten Unwissenheit herausge- 
kommen; er hat keine Erfahrung von der geistigen Arbeit, aber 
auch nicht von dem geistigen Segen einer wahren Forschung ; er 


weiss es nicht, was es heisse, und wie es thue, mit Problemen, mit 
Zweifeln ringen ; er kennt nicht die innere Stellung und Haltung 
des Geistes geistigen Aufgaben gegen iiber; er ist innerlich ohne 
alien Schutz gegen Einfalle, gegen Halbheiten; ein tausendmal 
dagewesener und widerlegter Irrthum, tauclit er ihm auf, wird als 
Inspiration, als unzweifelhafteWahrheit ergriffen, denn — erignorirt 
sie nicht etwa absichtlich, sondern thatseichlich : er kannte die 
Geschichte in ihrem Inhalte nicht, und so ist eigentlich fiir ihn noch 
Nichts geschehen. Es muss demnach zunachst festgehalten werden, 
dass er — was sich aus alien den von ihm gehaltenen grosseren 
Vortragen, wie sie sich abschriftlich wenigstens bei den Acten 
finden werden, ergeben muss — in einer seltenen real en Unwissenheit 
zu bleiben das Ungliick gehabt hat. 

Dieses wurde fiir ihn ein urn so grosseres, als er der Anlage nach 
von grosser Beweglichkeit und Reizbarkeit des Geistes sowohl als 
des Gemuthes ist. Unter der Menge sich zu verlieren, war weder 
seine Bestimmung noch seine Neigung. Bei grosser Gewandtheit 
und Nettigkeit der ausseren Erscheinung verfehlte er nicht, einen 
giinstigen Eindruck zu machen ; und, lebhaft wunschend, sich Raum 
zu machen, ohne im Besitz wiirdiger Mittel dazu zu sein, nn- 
aufgelegt, auch das friiher Versaumte durch nachholenden Fleiss 
und intensivere Anstrengung zu ersetzen, bildete er an sich das- 
jenige zu einer grossen Fertigkeit aus, was in der Gesellschaft ein 
insinuantes Wesen genannt wird. Dies half ihm durch alle Ex- 
amina durch, erwarb ihm einzelne Gonner und brachte ihn friihe 
in's Amt als Landgeistlichen. Bevor aber in der Entwicklung 
fortgeschritten werden kann, muss nur ein Moment angefiihrt wer- 
den, das vom bestimmtesten Einflusse gewesen ist. 

Friihe namlich, schon wahrend 'seines Aufenthaltes auf der 
Universitat, machte Ebel die Bekanntschaft mit einem Manne, der 
sich im Besitze einer Kenntniss glaubte, die vollkommen, durch 
den Verstand zur Einsicht bringenden Aufschluss iiber alle Mys- 
terien der Religion, der Natur und der Vernunft zu geben ver- 
mochte, die er deshalb auch schlechthin Erkenntniss der Wahrheit 
nannte : eine Erkenntniss, nach der sich die Weisesten und Er- 
leuchtesten aller Zeiten gesehnt, von der auch einige Strahlen 
auf die Auserwiihlten gefallen waren, die aber von Niemandem, 
selfost von den Aposteln nicht in ihrer Vollstandigkeit erlangt 
werden konnte ; denn dies war nur dem Fleisch gewordenen Para- 
klet aufbehalten, und dieser sei eben er — Schonherr ; denn von 


diesem ist nun die Rede ; dass er der Mensch gewordene Paraklet 
sei, wurde aus dem Systeme bewiesen, und wiederum die Moglich- 
keit dieses Systems sowie seine unumstossliche Wahrheit dadurch, 
dass es ja nicht menschliche Weisheit, sondern gottliche Verkiin- 
digung durch den vollendeten, Menscli gewordenen Paraklet sei ; 
aus beiden aber, dem Dasein des Systems und des Paraklets folgte, 
dass nun die vollkommene Wahrheit uber Alle, die ihrer theilhaf- 
tig werden wollen, d. h. die zur gliiubigen Annahme des Systems 
sich bereit finden wollen, ausgegossen werden konne, und dass, 
sobald dies in einigem Umfange zu Stande gekommen sein werde, 
das tausendjahrige Reich auf der Erde beginnen werde. Alle 
Personen nun, die sich dem Schonherr naherten, oder wohl gar an- 
schlossen, mussten natiirlich sehr bedeutende Personlichkeiten im 
Geisterreiche sein, Vorherbestimmte, Auserwahlte, auf die schon in 
den Biichern der Weissagung hingedeutet war. 

So z. B. zweifelte Schonherr so wenig, das Diestel eine solche 
Person sei, dass er sogar das ganz Spezielle hieruber herausfand: 
er war einer der Engel aus cler Apokalypse, welche die Siegel bre- 
chen, und so gewiss war er hieruber, dass er den Namen Heinrich 
Diestel 'in Heinrich Siegelbrecher verwandelte. Dies habe ich von 
Diestel selbst, der freilich keinen Anstand genommen hat, vor 
einigen Jahren drucken zu lassen : er kenne das Schonherr'sche 
System gar nicht. Dieses System nun aber, wie er es nannte, 
diese Erkeimtniss der Wahrheit gewahrt Viel, ja Alles, wenn nur 
eine Bedingung erfiillt wurde : die unbedingte Annahme der Gott- 
lichkeit, also nothwendig auch die unmittelbare Wahrheit dersel- 
ben ; fur sie durfte kein Beweis gefordert werden ; Unternehmun- 
gen der Art waren Werke des Teufels, da sie selbst der Beweis, 
und zwar der hochste, unmittelbarste, letzte war, mit ihr aber so 
hin und angenommen, konnte Alles bewiesen werden. Bestiiti- 
gungen freilich, oder was nur so scheinen oder irgend wie dahin 
gewandt werden konnte, waren willkommen, wenn auch nicht 
nothwendig. Und aus dieser Quelle stammt Einiges in dieser 
Lehre, was mit wirklichen Thatsachen, wenn auch nur unvollstan- 
dig aufgefassten, entstellten, oder mit physikalischen unci philo- 
sophischen Theoremen, wenn auch falschen und liingst widerlegten, 
einigen Zusammenhang hat. Unter den sehr wenigen Personen 
namlich, die sich zu jener Zeit dem Schonherr angeschlossen hatten, 
war ein junger Mann, dem es damals schon an einigen, wenn auch 
nur unzusammenhangenden, nicht gehorig begriindeten Naturkennt- 


irissen nicht ganzlich gefelilt hat; es ist dies der jetzige Oberlehrer 
Bujack; dieser hat Manches suppeditirt, das raehr oder weniger 
Schein hatte, und als ein Bemiihen, wenigstens einige Riicksicht 
.auf die Thatsachen der Beobachtung zu nehmen, das Ansehn haben 
kann. Bujack selbst ubrigens, in der eigenen Bildung fortschrei- 
tend, hat sich langst von jenen Thorheiten und Schwindeleien 
abgelost und zu einera achtungswerthen Gymnasiallehrer im Fache 
•der elementaren Naturgeschichte entwiekelt. 

Auf Ebel aber musste dies Verhaltniss ganz besonders und 
bestimmend wirken. Geistig sehr reizbar und aufgeregt, nach 
besonderer Bedeutsamkeit strebend, zur Theosophie (vielleicht schon 
durch eine erbliche Anlage) hinneigend, forschungs-und arbeits- 
.scheu, ohne Kenntniss wissenschaftlicher und eindringender Art 
von der Theologie, Philosophic, Natur etc. : dabei gewiss nicht ohne 
wahrhaftige religiose Erregung, fand er hiGr Nahrung und verlok- 
kende Versuchung im Uebermasse. Es handelte sich zuvorderst 
um gottliche Dinge und ihre tiefsten Tiefen ; diese durften nicht 
gesucht werden, denn sie waren eben alle schon gefunden und auf- 
gedeckt. Man wusste mehr und Grosseres als die von der Fin- 
sterniss bedeckte Welt ; man war im Geisterreiche bezeichnet, 
ausgezeichnet und auserwahlt ; vbllige Dispensation von dem miih- 
samen Wege des Lernens, von dem Lehren, und iiberdies noch das 
Lockende und innerlich Starkende, ja zum Trotz Anregende, das so 
hiiufig da gefunden wird, wo sich eine ecclesia pressa bildet. Denn 
in grosser und allgemeiner Missachtung als unwissender Schwarmer, 
ja als ein geistesverwirrter, still delirirender Mann stand Schonherr 
fast allgemein (in Leipzig hielt man es fiir rathsam, ihn in einer 
Irrenanstalt zu detiniren). Der Stolz, ja der Hochmuth sucht 
nicht ungern das Martyrerthum, namentlich, wenn es ein nicht gar 
zu hartes ist; hier iiberdies war Trostung und irdische Trostung 
ganz in der Nahe: sollte nicht bald und hier auf Erden und von 
Konigsberg aus das Beich Gottes mit einem iiberschwenglichen 
Masse von Geniissen des Leibes und der Seele beginnen ? Soil ten 
nicht die Hauptpersonem (und Andere gab es in diesem kleinen 
Kreise, " das kleine Hauflein," nicht) in einer Klirze von Freuden, 
Ehren und Herrlichkeit gliinzen ? Hie und da einige Missachtung 
z\\ tragen, war als letzte Gegenwehr, die der Teufel noch versuchte, 
eben nicht schwer; Bibelworte liessen sich ja dafiir finden, und so 
war es ja so verheissen. 

In solchen Verhaltnissen und in solcher Richtung stand Ebel, 


als er Landgeistlicher wurde. Dieser Wirkungskreis aber konnte 
seinen Wiinschen nicht entsprechen. Das einfache Evangelium 
predigen ? er hatte eine hohere Weisheit, die Erkenntniss der 
Wahrheit. Mit Landleuten konnte er das neue Reich aufzubauen 
nicht hoffen. Er bemiihte sich, eine Stelle in der Stadt zu erhal- 
ten, und da die Prediger-und Religion s-lehrerstelle am hiesigen 
Friedrichskollegium vakant wurde, bewarb er sich sehr angelegent- 
lich darum, obwobl er seine okonomische Stellung dadurch ver- 
schlimmerte. Nach einem schlecht iiberstandenen Examen gelangte 
er zu diesem Amte. Die Kirche dieser Anstalt, ^eigentlich nur fiir 
die Lehrer und Zoglinge derselben bestimmt, ist sehr klein, und, 
einigermassen von Anderen besucht, ist sie leicht gefullt und bald 
iiberfiillt. Bald in der That war dies auch hier der Fall. Das 
kirchliche Verhaltniss in hiesiger Stadt um jene Zeit war namlich 
im Allgemeinen eben durch die vorangegangenen erschutternden 
Ereignisse des Krieges 1806-7 in eine innere Belebung jedenfalls, 
aber auch in eine ausserlich sich beurkundende gerathen. Ausser 
mehren wiirdigen Geistlichen, die immer ein mehr oder minder 
bestimmtes Auditorium batten, zog damals besonders der Konsis- 
torialrath Krause, nachmaliger Grossherzoglich-Weimar'scher Ge- 
neralsuperintendent, sehr Viele an. Seine Predigten, die in dogma- 
tischer Richtung verschieden beurtheilt werden konnten, sprachen 
am Deutlichsten und Vornehmsten Etwas, dem Alle sich gem 
unterwerfen, aus, zu welchem das Menschengemiith einen unwider- 
stehlichen Zug hat, lautere Gottes-und Menschenliebe. Seine 
Vortrage aber, wie seine Wirkungsweise iiberhaupt waren ruhiger 
Art, betrachtend, ermahnend, selten ruhrend, nie erschutternd. 
Seine Predigten lehnten sich alle an Bibelwahrheiten und Bibel- 
spriiche, aber sie waren nicht iiberschuttet mit Bibel-und Lieder- 
versen. Ganz anders war es mit den Predigten Ebel's. Hier sah 
man einen jungen, schonen, stark bis zur Leidenschaft aufgeregten 
Mann hintreten, vernahm ihn voll Eifer dringen auf das, was das 
ganze, voile, reine Christenthum genannt wurde ; die Worte der 
Bibel selbst driingten einander, dazwischen immer Anfuhrungen 
aus frommen Gesangen, entschiedenes Yerwerfen alles desjenigen, 
was nicht eben Christenthum und seine wahre Erkenntniss ist, 
daher audi immerfort ein Ablehnen gegen alle Wissenschaft, die 
nicht Erkenntniss der Wahrheit sei. (Dieser Ausdruck, selbst ein 
biblischer, kam besonders haufig und gescharft vor.) Beden 
solcher Art, mit leidenschaftlicher Warme, die nur zu leicht von 


Rednern und Zuhorern fiir tiefe Begeisterang gehalten wird, vorge- 

tragen, konnen nicht verfehlen, Eindruck zu machen, und das 

thaten sie auch hier. Lernte man nun vollends Ebel personlich 

kennen — und dies war sehr leiclit, denn er war iiberaus entgegen- 

kommend — so befestigte und verstarkte sich jener Eindruck durch 

einen entgegengesetzten. Denn inder personlichen Beriihrung war 

er Toller und Fiigsamkeit, Niclits von dogma- 

tisclier Narrheit, wo er keine Neigung dafiir bemerkte ; Nichts von 

gewohnter Orthodoxie, wo er mit nicht so Gesinnten zusammen- 

traf ; kurz, er wurde Jedem bequem, Jedem gewissermassen gerecht, 

nur drang er iiberall auf die Erkenntniss der Wahrheit. Und was 

ist billiger, und was muss mehr und williger zugegeben werden, 

als eben dies, wenn man noch nicht weiss, was der tiefere Sinn, oder 

eigentlich welche ganzliche Verzichtung auf Sinn iiberhaupt es ist, 

die hinter jenem so harmlosen Ausdruck sich verbirgt ? So erin- 

nere ich mich, dass er mir in der ersten Zeit unserer Bekanntschaft, 

da er mich vom Lobe Spinoza's, den ich eben damals zum ersten 

Male naher kennen lernte, iiberstromen horte, und namentlich den 

frommen Sinn dieses verkannten und verfolgten Mannes hervor- 

heben, theilnehmend sagte und zustimmend: meinen armen Yater 

haben sie auch verfolgt, weil er einige spinozistische Ansichten 

angenotnmen hatte. Bei reiferer Einsicht spaterer Jahre bin ich 

selbst von meinem Enthusiasmus fiir jenen ausgezeichneten Denker 

zuriickgekommen, bei naherer Bekanntschaft mit Ebel habe ich es 

aber bestimmt genug gesehen, dass er nicht die entfernteste Kennt- 

niss des Spinoza und seiner Philosophic, oder auch nur seines 

Lebens hatte ; damals aber machte es einen grossen, Herz gewin- 

nenden Eindruck auf mich, einen strengglaubigen christlichen 

Prediger mit so vieler Anerkennung von Spinoza sprechen zu horen. 

Hie und da scheint er indess schon in jenen Zeiten sich von der 

Behutsamkeit, die er so sehr cultivirt, entfernt zu haben; denn 

wahrend er noch Prediger und Religionslehrer am Friedrichs- 

kollegium war, ist eine Untersuchung gegen ihn wegen seines 

Sehonherrianismus und wegen ungeziemend verachtlicher Aeusse- 

rungen von der Kanzel her iiber die Wissenschaften und ihre Bestre- 

bungen eingeleitet worden, doch ohne nachtheiligen Erfolg fiir ihn. 

Bald darauf traf ihn sogar unter mehren Kandidaten zu einer 

Adjunctenstelle eines Diakonats an der hiesigen Altsttidtischen 

Kirche die Wahl. In dieser grossen Kirche wuchs auch die Zahl 

seiner Zuhorer, ohne dass im Allgemeinen die offentliche Appre- 


hension wegen seines Zusammenhanges mit Schonherr sicli vermin- 
derte. Dies geschah im Jahre 181 G, und im darauf folgenden Jahre 
machte er in Gesellschaft Schonherr's und eines Lackfabrikanten 
Clemens eine Reise nach dem nordlichen Deutschland, wie es schien, 
anf Schonherr's Antrieb, urn nacbzuforschen, ob nicht weitere Ver- 
bindungen zur Yerbreitung der Erkenntniss der Wahrheit anzu- 
kniipfen seien. Dies fiel wohl ganz erfolglos aus, fiir Ebel aber war 
diese Reise erfolg- und folgenreich. Denn in Schlesien lernte er die 
Grafin Ida v. d. Groben kennen und begleitete sie von da zuriick 
hierber in ihr vaterliches Haus zum damaligen Landhofmeister und 
Oberprasidenten v. Auerswald. Von dieser ausgezeichneten, sehr 
begabten Dame werde ich nacbher naher sprecben miissen. Hier 
erinnere ich nur dies : obne die Verbindung mit dieser Dame ware 
Ebel nie das geworden, was er nachher nur zu sehr geworden 
1st : autokratiscbes Sectenhaupt. Denn Alles, was ibm ausser 
der Neigung und dem Hocbmuthe dazu fehlt, Entscblossenbeit, 
Muth, Charakterstarke, das hat sie in reichem Maasse, und 
iibertrug es durch beharrlichen Einfluss auf ilm und durch eine 
kuhnmeisterliche Behandlung aller Anderen zu deren absoluter 
Unterwerfung unter Ebel, den sie selbst mit aller Aufrichtigkeit 
und Ueberzeugungsstarke nicht bios als ihren Herrn und Meister, 
sondern als Herrn und Meister schlechthin anerkannt ; hierdurch, 
sage ich, fixirte sie ihn, und zwar ihn als besondere Person, 
die es nicht unterlassen durfe, sich getlend zu machen, so wie die 
Andern vorweg ihn als diese Person zu erkennen und anzuer- 
kennen. Hiervon jedoch wird weiter das Nahere und in seinem 
Zusammenhange mitgetheilt werden. Hier ist nur zu bemerken, 
dass hier ein Einschnitt in die ganze Entwicklung Ebel's und seiner 
mittel-und unmittelbaren Wirksamkeit eingetreten ist. 

Die nachste Wirkung aber stellte sich dadurch heraus. Eben 
diese Grafin v. d. Groben hatte ihren Mann,preussischen Lieutenant, 
in der Schlacht bei Gr. Gorschen (ween ich nicht irre) durch den 
Tod zu verlieren den tiefen Schmerz erfahren ; Jahre lang noch 
hing sie diesem Sclmierze, wie es schien, mit fester Entschliessung 
und in einer an's Melancholische granzenden Weise nach. Sie war 
iiberhaupt in fruherer Zeit romantischem und phantastischem Wesen 
sehr zugethan, und in dieser Art wurde nun auch die Trauer zu 
einem Kultus, der romantisch-phantastisch von ihr ausgeiibt wurde. 
Hire ganze edle Familie war in der grossten Sorge fur und um sie, 
vermochte aber zu keinem andernden Einflusse auf sie zu gelangen. 


Diese Frau mm fiihrte jetzt Ebel in den Kreis der Ihrlgen znriick r 
aber als neue, kaum kenntliche Person, heiter, ruhig, hingebend, 
theilnehmend und ohne alle Komantik, ohne Phantasterei, scheinbar 
natiirlich und kindlich. 

Die Eltern, entziickt und iiberrascht durch diese Veranderung, 
f'uhlten sich zum grossten Danke gegeu. Ebel verpflichtet ; denn 
von ihm, so sagte sie selbst, hatte sie Trost, Kuhe, Heiterkeit 
empfangen, und zwar eben durch seine religiose Belehrung. In der 
Familie von Auerswald fand dies um so grosseren Anklang, als 
sie immer einen religiosen Zng gehabt und bewahrt hatte, und die 
Sache wurde bald zu einer gemeinsamen der hoheren Familien- 
kreise dieser Stadt. Ebel wurde ein Gegenstand ihrer besondereii 
Betrachtimg, Beriicksichtigung und vor Allem der Besprechung. 
Bis dahin war der nahere Umgang kein anderer als der mit den 
Freunden Schonherr's, diese aber bestanden aus einigen Handwerks- 
leuten, Diestel, Graf von Kanitz und aus Damen, besonders dem 
Fraulein von Derschau, deren sp'ater nahere Erwiihnung geschehen 
muss. Nun trat Ebel aber in mannigfachere Kreise, und vorziiglich 
in den der hoheren Stande ein. Vielen vielleicht ware dies lieb und 
erfreulich gewesen, Niemandem aber so sehr, als einem Manne wie 
Ebel — eben ihm selbst. Seine geheimsten und innigsten Wunsche 
gingen vor seinen Augen in Erf ul lung ; er erregte Aufmerksamkeit ? 
er empfing Beweise persb'nlicher Anerkennung, und sein grosstes y 
ausgebildetstes Talent, die gesellschaftliche Geschmeidigkeit, konnte 
sich nun glanzend entfalten und neue Triumphe bereiten. Die Frau 
v. d. Groben begann aber sogleich ihre grosste Thatigkeit fiir ihn ; 
von seinem Lobe, von anbetender Bewunderung seiner Giite, Liebe 
und Frommigkeit iiberstrbmte nun in den begeistertsten Aus- 
driicken ihr Mund, und doch Alles in einer Weise, wie es einer ge- 
bilcleten und mit alien Vorziigen ihres hoheren Standes ausgeriisteten 
Frau geziemend war, ohne irgend Verdacht erregen zu konnen. 
Was war nun natiirlicher, als dass zunachst Frauen, namentlich aus 
den befreundeten adligen Kreisen, zu Ebel, zunachst in seine Kirche, 
dann auch in sein Haus gefiihrt wurden ? In dem Masse, als sich 
nun ein naherer und der Art nach gebildeter Kreis um Ebel versam- 
melte, in demselben Masse bildete sich auch einige Spannung 
zwischen diesem und dem eigentlich Schonherrischen Kreise ; denn 
seine Damen konnte Ebel doch nicht zu Schonherr fiihren, um 
dessen Abends begonnenen und oft gegen Morgen erst sich endenden 
Vortragen beiznwohnen ; auch konnte er sie der dort herrschenden 


Disciplin nicht unterwerfen ; denn etwas strenge scheint diese bei 
Schonherr allerdings gewesen zu sein, wenigstens war sie nicht st, 
beschaffen, wie man sie fiir junge, fein gebildete Damen geeignet 
halten kann. Anf seine Autoritat zu halten, fulilte Schonherr als 
Paraklet sich berechtigt, und die Freiheit, die er Anderen gestatette, 
bestand lediglich darin, dass sie, gleichfalls auserwahlte, in der 
Apokalypse und anderen heiligen Schriften wohl bezeichnete Per- 
sonen, hin und wieder einigen Einspruch thun, auch wohl eine halbe 
Nacht hindurch mit ihm selbst und untereinander heftig zanken 
durften, worauf sich dann aber Alles wieder in das alte Subordina- 
•tionsverhaltniss einfdgen musste. 

So wenigstens ist es mir in spateren Jahren — denn ich selbst habe 
Schonherr' s Schwelle nie betreten — von Mitgliedern jenes Kreises 
erzahlt worden. Tiefer aber lag noch ein anderer Grund zum 
Zerwiirfniss zwischen Ebel und Schonherr. Ersterer sah sich allmah- 
lig in die giinstige Lage versetzt, selbst Oberhaupt sein zu konnen, 
und eines aus edleren Gliedern, jedenfalls aus angeseheneren und 
angenehmeren Personen bestehenden Kreises ; in diesem wurde ihm 
Verehrung, Unterwerfung, ja Anbetung entgegengebracht ; dort 
sollte er ein unus ex multis sein, und unter welchen ! Da sollte er 
neben einem Handschuhmacher, Kupferschmid, Lackfabrikanten, 
Victualienhandler u. s. w. sitzen und sich mit diesen, zuweilen von 
diesen ausschelten lassen ; denn auf Standesverschiedenheit legt 
Ebel einem besonderen Werth ; in spateren Jahren horte ich selbst 
mit Mehreren von ihm sagen : Christus habe es schlimmer als er 
gehabt, der habe mit ungebildeten Leuten der untersten Volks- 
klasse umgehen miissen, er aber habe Grafen, Grafinnen u. s. w. urn 
sich. Auf solche Weise und aus solemn Griinden hauften sich denn 
immer die Eeibungsmomente, bis endlich im Jahre 1819 Ebel sich 
von Schonherr vollig trennte, die beiden Vornehmen jenes Kreises, 
•den Grafen von Kanitz und das Fraulein von Derschau mit sich 
nehmend, wie sie immer ganz besonders seiner Person angeschlossen 

Nun fing Ebel an gegen Schonherr zu predigen (seine person- 
lichen Angelegenheiten, die er fiir identisch mit denen Gottes hielt, 
wurden alle Zeit von der Kanzel her wie in den hauslichen Zusam- 
menkiinften verhandelt, mit dem Unterschiede nur, dass in der 
Kirche die sogenannten draussen Stehenden nicht recht . merken 
konnten, worauf es gehe, wer geziichtigt, wer gegeisselt ward.) 
Nichts war gegen seine Lehre, diese wurde vielmehr durchaus 


festgehalten und immer mehr nach ihrer ganzen abenteuerlichen 
Grundlage ausgebildet — aber gegen seinen Bart (er trug einen 
sehr langen und in der That schonen,) gegen seinen Rock (der 
einen eigenen Schnitt, eine eigene Zusaramenfiigung hatte, wie 
dies Schonherr als seiner geistigen Wiirde fiir angemessen und 
nothwendig erforscht hatte,) gegen die Sonderbarkeiten seiner 
'ausseren Erscheinung iiberhaupt, aber auch gegen seine Herrsch- 
sucht, Undnldsamkeit, Heftigkeit u. s. w. Das Reich war nun 
jedenfalls getheilt, die Parteien standen sich feindlich gegenuber, 
Gemeinsames hatten sie nur am Lehrsystem ; wo aber die Kraft 
und die Moglichkeit eines ausseren Gelingens gesetzt war, konnte 
nicht gezweifelt werden. Dazu kommt noch, dass Schonherr ein 
viel zu gradsinniger, aufrichtiger und im ganzen zu nobler Mann 
war, urn sich irgend unedler Mittel fiir seine Zwecke zu bedienen ; 
allmahlig fiel Alles von ihm ab, bis auf ihn selber ; denn er 
beharrte bei sich bis an's Ende, ja im Todesmomente versicherte er 
fest : ihn konne der leibliche so wenig als der geistige Tod treffen, 
er sei ja der Mensch gewordene Paraklet, er werde nur umkleidet, 
nicht entkleidet. 

Ebel aber richtete sein Reich nun mit vieler Klugheit ein; 
zuvorderst bemerkte er sehr richtig, dass, urn Zwist und Zer- 
wurfniss zu vermeiden, Nichts von vorneherein wirksamer sein 
konne, als keinen Widerspruch aufkommen zu lassen. Und dies 
war anfanglich um so leichter zu erreichen, da der Kreis ausser 
den Damen, die zu keinem Widerspruch, sondern nur zur innigsten 
Anhanglichkeit fiir Ebel gestimmt waren, nur aus Kanitz bestand, 
wenn man namlich von den naher Unterrichteten der eigentlichen 
Verhaltnisse sprechen soil. Kanitz ist aber seiner ganzen Natur 
nach zu Nichts so sehr geeignet, als zu einem Anhanger, da man 
nicht weniger selbststandig sein kann, als er es eben ist. Ueber- 
dies war Anfangs Alles voller Lieblichkeit und Freundlichkeit, 
und wo einmal die Lehre als Unantastbares, Unzweifelhaftes fest- 
stand, zu einem Widerspruche nicht leicht eine Veranlassung. Es 
musste nun aber festgestellt werden, wer denn die Person des Ebel 
sei, d. h., welche Stelle er im Geisterreiche, im Universum, also 
nothwendig zunachst im Reiche Gottes einnehme. Dass es eine der 
hochsten sein mlisse, verstand sich von selbst und aus der ganzen 
Lehre ; Ebel selbst sagte : wie sollte ich denn wissen, wie die Welt 
geschaffen ist, wenn ich nicht dabei gegenwartig gewesen ware ? 

Da er nun jenes wusste, so konnte es auch an diesem nicht 


gefehlt haben. Es lag nahe, dass er eine Person aus der Trinitat 
sein miisste ; der Vater aber konnte er nicht sein ; denn der bleibt 
ewig in sich selbst verborgen, er ist ja ubrigens auch das erste 
Urwesen (Feuer,) das in kerne Unibildung seiner selbst eingehen 
konne ; einen Paraklet gab es schon, wenn man auch einraumen 
musste, dass er sich seiner Wiirde und seiner Bestimmung un- 
wiirdig, wenigstens dermalen erwiesen habe, aber er kann ja wohl 
noch nmkehren, und man miisse, dass dies geschehe, fur ihn beten. 
(Man hat allerdings, uberdenkt man dergleichen mit Euhe und im 
Zusammenhange, Ursache, liber das Mass der Yerirrung und der 
geistigen Vermessenheit zusammenzuschaudern ; denn wahrend die 
Glaubigen der christlichen Kirche flehen, dass der heilige Geist 
sie vertrete und fur sie beim Vater beten moge, wurde hier von 
schwachen, siindhaften, an Haupt und Gliedern kranken Menschen 
gebetet — fur den heiligen Geist selbst ! Und dabei und darin 
eben erschienen sie sich barmherzig, versohnlich und liebend !) 
Es konnte also die Person Ebel's keine andere sein als die Christi. 
Herausgefunden hatte dies zuerst das Fraulein von Derschau 
(nachher Grafin von Kanitz); mit freudiger Zustimmung als un- 
mittelbar evident wurde es aufgenommen von der Frau Grafin von 
der Groben; von Kanitz war kein Widerspruch zu erwarten. Nackt 
und unumwunden wurde dies indess nicht Allen ausgesprochen, es 
hiess nur: Ebel sei der Reprasentant des Heiligen und Reinen 
im Universum, er sei der vollkommene Mensch, und zwar 
sei dies seine neue Natur. In diesen verhiillenden Ausdriicken 
jedoch liegt nicht nur jene Bestimmung, dass Ebel niimlich der zu 
unserer Zeit erschienene Christus sei, sondern noch mehr einge- 
schaltet, dass er der hoher ausgebildete, vollendete Christus sei ! 
Hiermit aber verhalt es sich der Lehre nach so : der zuerst er- 
schienene Christus sei nur zum Theil Mensch geworden, seiner 
Geburt nach niimlich aus der Maria, aber von keinem Menschen 
gezeugt; da aber der Gottessohn auch vollkommener Menschensohn 
werden muss, so muss ein Christus von einem Menschenpaare 
gezeugt werden ; dieser Gezeugte aber muss, was durch die 
menschliche Zeugung ihm Sundhaftes an- und eingeboren ist, von 
sich abstreifen, und hiezu bedarf es der Hilfe, des Beistandes und 
der Kraft aus dem zwar nicht vollkommenen, aber gekreuzigten 
und versohnenden Christus. Hat nun der neue Christus es dahin 
gebracht, diese seine neue Natur anzuziehen, so ist er der reine 
und heilige und vollkommene Mensch. Er darf aber ja nicht 


wieder von Anfechtungen aus der alten Natur sich bestricken 
lassen. Und hieriiber wachten in der That mit der aussersten 
Sorgfalt die beiden genannten Damen iiber Ebel. Dieser namlich 
beliauptete immer, seine alte Natur bestande in der Unsicherheit 
des Geraiitlis, Unterwiirfigkeit u. s. w. Daher durfte er dann, 
wenn er seine neue Natur behaupten sollte, sich nur als fest, 
bestimmt und als Herr zeigen. Und in Wahrheit, er gewann 
hierin eine grosse Fertigkeit ! Was er nun auf diese Weise that, 
das war eben, weil es in dieser Weise geschah, also aus der neuen 
Natur, rein und selig. Noch eine andere Frage dariiber zu thun, 
einen anderen Priifstein zu gebrauchen, war schlechthin un- 
statthaft, weil es ein innerer Widerspruch gewesen ware ; wo 
sollte denn ein Kriterium iiber das Heilige and Reine hieraus 
hergenommen werden ? 

Eine andere Frage aber ist die, was denn nun die Aufgabe 
dieses Reinen und Heiligen in der That sei, was er thun, wodurch 
er seine gottliche Natur vollziehen, diese selbst bewahren solle. 
Aber dies ist vielmehr gar keine Frage : was konnte der Reine 
und Heilige Anderes thun, als reinigen und heiligen? und was 
konnte seine Sendung sonst bewahren als Reinigung und Heiligung? 
Und ebenso wenig kann es, wenn man nur die Grundlage des 
Lehrsystems, das ja die Erkenntniss der Wahrheit selbst ist, kennt, 
zweifelhaft bleiben, welches das nachste Thun, das wichtlgste 
Geschaft dieser Person sein miisse. Alles Uebel ist ja in die 
Welt gekommen lediglich dadurch, dass der Teufel das zweite 
(weibliche) Urwesen, Finsterniss, Wasser, verfiihrt, von den Ein- 
fliissen des ersten Urwesens abgewendet hat; (denn woher der 
Teufel selbst gekommen, was ihn verfiihrte, danach fragt kein 
Mensch, oder es wird ihm geantwortet : der Hochmuth ; aus sich 
.selbst musste geantwortet werden, wenn geantwortet werden sollte ; 
aber man bedenke, was darin liegt : aus sich selbst !) Alles Uebel 
also durch die Verfiihrung des weiblichen durch einen teuflischen 
Einfluss des mannlichen, alle Rettung also durch Reinigung und 
Heiligung cles Weiblichen, durch einen gottlichen mannlichen 
Einfluss. Hiernach nun verstand sich eben nach-dem Lehrsysteme 
Vieles, was die Ausfiihrung anlangt, von selbst. Zuvorderst konnte 
es nicht die Meinung sein, dass Ebel als die bestimmte Person des 
Heiligen und Reinen alle Frauenzimmer selbst heiligen und rei- 
nigen kann, sondern nur die weiblichen Hauptnaturen ; diese aber 
THraren nicht fern zu suchen ; es waren natlirlich diejenigen, die 


sich zu ihm gefunden und im Lanfe der Zeit sicli nm ihn versamaomli 
hatten. Drei hervorragende weibliche Wesen, die eben als solche 
betrachtet wurden, welche schlcchthin zu Ebel gehorten, waren 
aber in dieser Hinsicht besonders zu beriicksichtigen, da sie als 
Hauptnaturen die Wirkung weiter tragen sollten; es waren dies 
die Frau v. d. Groben, seine Frau als Lichtnatur; Fraulein Emilie 
von Schrotter, seine Frau als Finsternissnatur ; und seine ange- 
traute Frau, welche die Umfassung (ein Ausdruck, der viel bedeuten, 
und oft ans der tiefsten Noth der Begriffslosigkeit helfen musste) 
sein sollte. Ausserdem wurden nun noch viele andere weibliche 
Wesen, insofern sie der bestimmten Heiligung und Reinigung 
bedurften, nicht abgewiesen, auch dazu angehalten, wie eben die 
verstorbene Griifin von Kanitz (friiher Friiulein v. Derschau), 
Maria Consentius und nicht wenige Andere. Sodann war es auch 
einleuchtend, wie diese Acte der Heiligung und Reinigung zu 
vollbringen seien: es musste auf urwesentliche Weise, aber von dem 
Reinen und Heiligen und an einer nach der Reinigung und Hei- 
ligung Verlangenden geschehen. Die urwesentliche Weise aber 
ist die geschlechtliche, das Reinigende ist das freie und klare 
Bewusstsein. Die Acte mussten also geschlechtliche Beziehung 
haben, und es musste dabei geredet werden ; denn das ist Bewusst- 
sein. Das Geschlechtliche aber darf nicht bis zur Zeugung ge- 
trieben werden ; denn nicht diese zunachst, sondern die Uebung im 
Urwesentliehen auf reine und reinigende Weise war die Absicht. Also 
nur bis zur Zeugung bin. — Sodann begriff es sich auch, dass diese 
Acte nur mit denjenigen Damen vorgenommen werden konnten, 
die nicht bloss erst unterichtet und eingeweiht waren, sondern sie 
mussten auch ihre Siinden und namentlich in Beziehung auf ge- 
schlechtliche Neigungen, Versuchungen u. s. w. bekannt, und auf 
alle Weise sich als untergeben, willig und abhangig bewiesen haben. 
Endlich aber war es auch einsichtlich, dass die Acte nicht mit 
weiblichen Personen vorgenommen werden konnten und durften, 
die eben in weiblicher, d. h. in geschlechtlicher Beziehung keiner 
Zurechtstellung bedurften, weil sie eben in geschlechtlicher Riick- 
sicht nicht mehr Frauen waren, also weder mit alten noch mit alt- 
lichen. Mit solchen wurde dergleichen nicht nur nicht gethan, 
sondern dariiber gegen sie vollkommenes Geheimniss beobachtet, 
weil sie es nicht wiirden verstehen konnen. 

Bei der Aufgabe, die ich mir hier gestellt babe, eine sehr ver- 
wickelte und verworrene Sache in ihren psychologischen Momenten 


nachzuweisen, war der eben erb'rterte Pnnct derjenige, den in's 
Wort zu fassen mich die grosste Ueberwindung gekostet hat ; denn 
ekelhaft und widerwartig in der Erscheinung, grauelhaft dem 
Wesen nach, aller Vernunft und unverzerrtem naturlichem Gefuhl 
emporend, ist dieser Vorgang dennoch, was die Frauen anlangt, 
nicht nnr nicht aus siindlichem fleischlichem Geliiste, ja nicht nur 
aus guter und frommer Absicht hervorgegaugen, sondern (und dies 
ist meine innerste, auf genaue Kenntniss der Personen gegriindete 
Ueberzeugung) eine Verirrung, in die unedle weibliche Gemiither 
gar nicht gerathen konnen, sondern eben nur edle, hochbegabte 
und zur grossten Selbstverleugnung durch tiefe Religiositat fahig 
gewordene. Ware von Abwiigung der Schuld die Rede, konnte 
hiervon unter Menschen iiberall die Rede sein, so miisste das 
Nichtschuldig iiber die Frauen ganz unbedenklich ausgesprochen 
werden ; denn zur grobsten Versiindigung haben nicht nur die 
feinsten Faden, sondern die edelsten Regungen hingefiihrt, und 
Alles ist im Gefuhl der Selbstverleugnung urn der Wahrheit, um 
Gottes willen geschehen. Und in der That konnte dem Richter, 
der ein Urtheil aussprechen und deshalb auch die Verhaltnisse 
innerlich erkennen muss, nichts Storenderes, nichts sein Urtheil 
Triibenderes begegnen, als wenn ihm ein Gefuhl von Missachtung 
gegen die in Rede stehenden Frauen erwachsen sollte ; nothwendig 
wiirde ihm hiermit sogleich der richtige Einblick in das wahre 
Verhaltniss desjenigen, was das Thun und was das Leiden, das 
Wollen und das Handeln gewesen ist, sich schliessen, oder we- 
nigstens verwirren und unsicher werden miissen. Ich kann aber 
rait der freien Aussprache dieser meiner Ueberzeugung nicht so 
verstanden, oder vielmehr so vollig missverstanden werden, als ge- 
•dachte ich damit eine Vertheidigung in objectiver Hinsicht in 
Beziehung der Frauen zu iibernehmen, oder die Schadlichkeit und 
Verderblichkeit eines solchen Verhaltnisses irgend wie verkleinern 
zu wollen. Niemand kann mehr iiberzeugt sein, wie entartend und 
entartet dieses sei, an welchen Abgrund jene Frauen in der That 
gefiihrt seien. Das aber sage ich, und von dessen Wahrheit durch- 
dringend iiberzeugt, dass in subjectiver Beziehung die Frauen 
schuldlos sind, dass sie in ihrem Wollen und Bestreben zu den 
edlen und verehrlichsten ihres Geschlechts gehoren. Hinzufiigen 
aber muss ich auch und mit der gleichen Festigkeit der auf die 
speciellste Personenkenntniss begriindeten Ueberzeugung, dass es 
«in grosses Gliick sei, ja, dass Gott sehr zu danken sei, dass es 


nicht zu grosseren Graueln, nicht zu den schrecklichsten Hand- 
lungen gekommen ist. 

Denn es imterliegt, kennt man eben die Personen in ihrer 
ganzen, waliren Eigenthiimlichkeit, nicht dem mindesten Zweifel, 
dass diese Damen (namentlich aber die Frau Grafin von der Groben, 
die edelste Natur von Allen) jede Handlung, und ancli die Schauder 
erregendsten zu vollziehen geneigt sein wiirden, wenn Ebel sie ihnen 
ernstlich gebote ; ja, sie wiirden es mit Freuden thun, nnd jede 
innere Regung dagegen als Siinde, als Versuchung des Teufels 
betrachten und besiegen. Was Ebel ihnen zu verschweigen auf- 
giebt, wird keine Inquisition und keine Tortur ihnen iiber die 
Lippen bringen. Ich verkenne nicht das hohe Maass des Fana- 
tismus, der in diesen Personen ausgebildet ist, ich verkenne nicht 
seine Schauder erregende, Alles zertrummernde Kraft, ich aner- 
kenne aber die urspriinglich edlen Motive und beklage aus tiefstem 
Herzen, dass edle Hingebung so sehr ihren wahren, wurdigenden 
und adelnden Gegenstand verfehlt hat. 

Nach dieser Zwischenbemerkung, die ich fur nothwendig hielt, 
und von der ich wiinschen muss, dass sie den Richter innerlich 
nicht unberiihrt lassen mochte, kann ich, zufrieden, das Wider- 
strebendste des Ganzen abgethan zu haben, in meiner Darstellung 
fortfahren. Wenn nun das Nachste und Wichtigste des heiligen 
und reinen Ebel (man uberwinde mit mir den Widerwillen gegen 
diese Identifizirung ; denn sie ist, eben wenn die Darstellung so 
billig und richtig als moglich vom Standpunkte jener gegebenen 
Grundverirrung ausgemacht werden soil, nothwendig) auf die Frauen 
und die Reinigung der Frauen als zweiten Urwesens, in das eben 
die Siinde eingedrungen, gerichtet ist, wenn dieses nur nach er- 
theilter Belehrung u. s. w. durch die bestimmten, stufenweise fort- 
schreitenden geschlechtlichen Acte bis zur Zeugung hin geschehen 
kann, so entsteht die Frage : was hat er denn mit den Mannern 
zu thun? An sie — das ist die einfache Antwort — hat er die 
Lehre zu bringen, sie zu ermahnen, sie inne werden zu lassen, dass 
sie aus dem zweiten verfuhrten Urwesen geboren sind und somit 
die Siinde substantiell in sich tragen, sie zu schelten, heftig zu 
schelten, aber auch ihnen zu schmeicheln, sie zu ermuntern, und 
sie zu vestigiren, wenn sie zu Etwas zu gebrauchen sind, und da 
dies Letztere niemals im Voraus zu bestimmen ist, so nur einst- 
weilen zu fixiren. Das am Besten Berechnete aber hierbei war, 
dass er selbst in der That mit Mannern sich am Wenigsten zu thun 


machte, sondern sie an die Frauen wies, sie diesen zur Leitung 
iibergab. Diese wurden zuvorderst als die Gefbrderten betrachtet, 
und da hiess es denn : hie gilt es nicht Mann noch Frau, sondern 
nur christliche Erfahrung nnd tiefe Erkenntniss ; wer hierin weiter 
ist, der kann dem Andern rathen, ihn weisen und leiten, und es ist 
dessen Pflicht, wenn es ihm lira wahres Christenthum zu thun ist, 
sich jenem unterzuordnen, sei es Mann oder Frau. Yon dem Ge- 
bote und Verbote : „taceat mulier in ecclesia" konnte hier schon 
deshalb nicht die Eede sein, weil nicht bios ohne Frauen hier keine 
Kirche gewesen ware, sondern in Wahrheit diese Kirche nur von 
Frauen geleitet wurde, da genau genommen, Ebel selbst das, was 
er geworden, nur durch Hingebung und Bestimmung der Frauen 
geworden ist, freilich in ganz anderer Art und Weise als bei den 
iibrigen. Von der Praxis, die nach und nach in diesem Kreise 
ausgebildet und methodisch strenge gehandhabt worden ist, wird 
spater zusammenhangend gesprochen werden ; hier kommt est nur 
darauf an, nachzuweisen, was aus der Weisung der Manner an die 
Frauen und durch die Unterordnung jener unter diese (wovon nur 
selten und nur fur einzelne Momente Ausnahme gemacht wurde) 
entstanden und fur Ebel und seine Zwecke gewonnen wurde. Zu- 
nachst namlich war wohl hierdurch am Besten gesorgt, fur die 
Einiibung der hochsten Verehrung und des tiefsten Gehorsams fur 
die Person EbePs ; sodann aber war eben das, was an einer solchen 
Stellung der Manner zu den Frauen als Verkehrung erscheinen 
kann und es in der That auch ist, die wahre Zurechtstellung fur 
jenen Kreis. Wenn Manner von Frauen liber die unentweichlichsten 
Probleme der Philosophic belehrt werden sollten, so verstand e& 
sich gleich von selbst, dass die Manner Alles, was sie sonst durch 
Gelehrsamkeit, Forschung, eignes Studium wussten und hatten, bei 
Seite liegen lassen mussten ; dies sind nicht Waffen, die Frauen re- 
spectiren konnen, besonders nicht lehrende Frauen; all dergleichen 
vielmehr musste vorweg als eitle Weisheit der verfinsterten Welt,, 
als gelehrter Plunder weggeschoben sein und bleiben. Hiermit 
war denn sogleich Alles aus den Handen gewunden, wodurch die 
Abenteuerlichkeit der zu lehrenden Lehre hatte von vorn herein 
zertrummert werden konnen. Sodann wurde jene Art des Unter- 
ordnungsverhaltnisses fur nothig gefunden, weil es das Geeignetste 
ist zur Demiithigung, diese aber selbst das Nothigste sei. Dass 
die Frauen dadurch hochmiithig gemacht wurden, war kein Ein- 
wand, da sie schon demuthig waren. Ferner wenn Manner Frauen 


Siindenbekenntnisse in den nacktesten, scharfsten Ausdriicken ab- 

legen sollten, wenn dies wie natiirlich vorziiglich iiber die Grund- 

verderbniss, die geschlechtliche geschehen musste, so stellte sich 

dadurch sogleich ein Verhaltniss ein, das das unnatiirlichste an 

sich und die Scham auf alle Weise zerstorend hier zum natiirlichen 

wurde, das eben, weil es aller Natur widersprach, eben als die neue 

Natur begriindend angesehen, gelobt und auf alle Weise gefordert 

wurde. Je liberstromender man in dieser Hinsiclit war, je empo- 

renderer Ausdriicke man sich bediente, desto hoher wurde man 

gestellt, desto mehr als im wahren Ernst der Heilung stehend 

wurde man betrachtet. Schien das Bekannte nicht wiclitig, d. h. 

nicht arg genug, so erregte das Unzufriedenheit und wurde ein 

Festhalten am Argen, ein Unterhandeln mit dem Teufel, Lauheit,. 

arger als kalt und warm genannt, und nun begann das heftigste und 

andringendste Pressen auf andere und gescharftere Bekenntnisse. 

Kamen solche hervor, so wurde Gott gepriesen, der das Herz eines 

Verstockten erweicht hatte. Wollte man daher Ruhe, um nicht zu 

sagen Ruhm erlangen, so blieb nichts Anderes iibrig, als allenfalls 

die Phantasie zu Hilfe zu nehmen und erdichtete Siinden als 

wirkliche zu bekennen, ja, es wurden von den Damen sogar Siinden 

proponirt, die man begangen haben mbchte, und die nun als be- 

gangen zu beichten waren. — Wenigstens iet es mir — das darf ich 

bei Gott dem Allerheiligsten versichern — so ergangen ; ich habe 

Siinden mundlich und schriftlich bekannt, die ich nie begangen, die 

mir zu bekennen von den Grafinnen v. d. Groben und von Kanitz auf- 

gegeben wurde, zu denen sie mir die Ausdriicke, in denen sie bekannt 

werden miissten, theils genannt, theils, wenn ich sie nicht scharf 

genug getroffen hatte, corrigirt und emendirt haben. Unter welchen 

Umstanden dies geschehen sei, wird weiter unten naher angegeben 

werden. Welch ein Verhaltniss der Abhangigkeit hiedurch aber 

gekniipft, ja wie sklavisch gebunden man dadurch werden, welche 

Herrschaft der Herrschenden hierdurch begriindet werden musste^ 

das bedarf wohl gar keiner Erwahnung. Zwei andere Momente 

miissen aber hiemit noch in Verbindung gebracht werden. Einmal 

namlich konnte es nicht ausbleiben, dass bei einer solchen Stellung 

der Frauen, bei den Lehren des Systems iiber die geschlechtlichen 

Verhaltnisse und bei der Methode, diese in der Liebe zu reinigen 

und zu heiligen, bei der volligen Niedergerissenheit aller gewohn- 

lichen Schranken der Sitte und in Wahrheit audi der Sittlichkeit, 

bei der Freiheit, die die Damen nicht bios gestatteten und gewahrten, 


sohdern zum Theil sogar anboten und lehrten, bei alle dem, was 
man Unverzwangtheit, Wesenheit und zur Freiheit der Kinder 
Gottes gehorig nannte — bei alle dem, sage ich, konnte es nicht 
ausbleiben, dass in Zeiten, in welchen man nicht gequalt wurde, 
man nicht von innerem Ekel und Verdruss (die man aber innerlichst 
verschlossen halten musste) gequalt war, nicht Regungen und 
Aeusserungen sinnlicher Begierde sich einstellen sollten, denen 
zwar die ehrendsten Namen beigelegt wurden, die dadurch aber 
nicht aufhorten zu sein, was sie eben sind. Schon das unauf horliche 
starke Kiissen und Umarmen, das gang und gebe war, die ungenirte 
Art der korperlichen Annaherung auch da, wo von geschlechtlichen 
Uebimgen zur Heiligung keine Rede war, sondern zu der gewohn- 
lichen Art des Zusammenseins gehorte (denn in Gegenwart irgend 
eines Fremden, draussen Stehenden trat das formlichste und zier- 
lichste Ceremoniell ein), schon dies konnte nicht verfehlen, jene 
Wirkung sinnlicher Erregung auszuiiben, zumal viele der Frauen 
mit vielen Reizen des Aeusseren wie des Geistes ausgestattet waren. 
Wer etwa sagen wollte, es sei ihm hierin anders ergangen, von dem 
scheint es mir, dass er sich beliige oder wenigstens tausche. Ich 
glaube nicht, dass es irgend Jemanden gebe, der die gewohnlichen 
sittigen und sittlichen Schranken als fiir sich iiberniissig erachten 
diirfte. Das andere Moment aber ist dies; dadurch, dass die 
Manner den Frauen iiberwiesen waren zur Leitung und Belehrung, 
hatte Ebel fiir seine Person den Vortheil, ganz in der Entfernung 
bleiben zu konnen, von jedem Conflicte frei zu bleiben und 
scheinbar eben nur geschehen zu lassen. Genaueste Kunde 
musste ihm ja doch iiber Alles gegeben werden, nur blieb es ihm 
bei der Verhandlungsweise ganz frei gelassen, ob und wie viel 
directen Antheil er an einer Verhandlung nehmen wollte. Geschah 
es z. B., dass sich einmal die Verhaltnisse der personlichen 
Verhandlung ungiinstig verwickeln wollten, drohte etwa ein Ver- 
lust, so trat er mit liberschuttender Freundlichkeit und Lieb- 
kosung ein, alle Verwickelung wegschiebend, den ganzen Gegen- 
stand fallen lassend, und Alles in lauter Lieblichkeit und Ruhrung 
auflosend. Schien es dagegen ein anderes Mai, dass ein verstarkter 
und stiirkster Angriff nothwendig sei, dann shritt er zornvoll, heftig, 
auf 's Aeussertse erregt, mit Hollenstrafen und Verdammung urn 
sich schleudernd ein. Mit eineni Worte, er hatte durch diese 
Anordnung am Besten fiir das gesorgt, was seine bewundernswiirdig 
ausgebildete Taktik ist, — das personliche Reserviren. Geschehen 


musste ja doch immer, was er wollte, und wie er wollte. Noch 
andere Vortheile geringerer, doch nicht zu verschmiihender Art 
erwuclisen ihm aus dieser Stellung. Um die Verbindung mit 
Mannern, namentlicli mit gelehrten oder iiberall ausgebildeten und 
unterrichteten war es ihm eigentlich sehr zu thun ; theils sollte 
dadurch sein Euf als wenig unterrichteter, hohlschwarmender 
Mann widerlegt werden, theils sollte durch sie seine Lehre mit 
Gelehrsamkeit und gutem Ansehen wohl aptirt, nach aussen ge- 
tragen werden nnd verbreitet. Hatten ihm nur die Damen solche 
Leute gut zugerichtet, d. h. so, dass sie geneigt schienen, den 
Inhalt ihres Wissens anfzugeben, die Form aber beizubehalten fiir 
einen anderen Inhalt, eben die Schonherr - Ebel'sche Lehre, so 
waren sie hochst branchbar. Ebel selbst wollte daher nicht 
gern gegen Gelehrsamkeit ankampfen, er wollte sie vielmehr 
in Dienst nehmen, aber die Diener mussten ihm fertig geliefert 
werden. Ja, einige Kleinigkeiten nahm er gleich nnd mit 
Herablassung an. Er hat Mehreres drucken lassen, Predigten 
u. s. w. ; bei mehren befinden sich Beilagen, Excurse, z. B. ex- 
egetische Bemerkungen iiber Stellen des alten und neuen Testa- 
ments ; er versteht aber schlechthin Nichts vom Griechischen, und 
Hebraisch kann er nicht lesen; er gestattet es Andern, diese 
gelehrten Bemerkungen ausznarbeiten, versteht sich in seinem 
JSinn, und sie wurden anf seinen Namen gedruckt. Ebenso ist es 
mit Citaten aus Philosophen, neueren Schriftstellern, ja mit der 
Sprache selbst, die druckfahig zu machen, immer nicht unwesent- 
licher Verbesserungen bedurfte. Diese wurden aber meistens von 
den Damen, namentlicli von der Grafin von der Groben, die ein 
nicht geringes Talent znr sprachlichen Darstellung besitzt, besorgt. 
Treten nun aus diesen Verhaltnissen, Ansichten und Verfah- 
rungsweisen genug Elemente hervor und zusammen, die das 
Bedenkliche und Verderbliche des Ganzen hinreichend erkennbar 
machen, so wurde Alles noch mehr verschlimmert durch die ver- 
kehrteste Ansicht einer an sich vielleicht rein biblischen Lehre, 
der vom Teufel. Es ist nicht meine Aufgabe, iiber diese Lehre 
ein Urtheil auszusprechen ; mir selbst scheint sie in den Worten 
der Bibel enthalten zu sein, ich weiss aber auch, dass es sehr 
fromme christliche Gottesgelehrte, Bibelglaubige Theologen gegeben 
hat. die die Lehre vom Teufel nicht nur nicht mit der Vernunft, 
sondern auch nicht mit der heiligen Schrift und der Liebe Gottes 
zu vereinigen gewusst und daher lieber den Teufel, als Vernunft, 


Schrift und die innige Ueberzeugung von der Liebe Gottes auf- 
gegeben haben. Doch wie es sich damit verhalten mag, so viel 
scheint jedenfalls gewiss, dass es immer ein bedenkliches Zeichen 
ist, wenn ein Geistlicher fort und fort den Teufel citirt, mehr von, 
ihm als von Christo spricht. Giebt es einen Teufel nocli jetzt, 
und ist er immer noch, auch nach der Ersclieinung Christi und der 
weiten Verbreitung dss Christenthums so sehr machtig, so werden 
Menschen ihn wohl nicht iiberwinden, und jedenfalls ist's zweifel- 
haft, ob die strengen Yertreter der Existenz des Teufels die in** 
nigsten Verehrer und Diener Christi sind. Doch auch dies kann 
hier ganz dahin gestellt sein ; denn Ebel und diejenigen, die ihm 
folgen, machen von dieser Lehre eine Anwendung eigener Art^ 
Zwei Eigenschaften des Teufels seien es, die ganz besonders auf- 
gefasst und beriicksichtigt werden miissten : dass er listig und der 
Lugner Ton Haus aus ist. Durch List verfiihrte er das zweite- 
Urwesen, durch sie und durch seine Liigen beriickt er noch immer 
fort die Menschen und halt sie in der Finsterniss. Seid listig 
wie die Schlangen, war Ebel's Wahlspruch und sein Losungswort ;. 
denn von dem erkliirenden Zusatze : „ und ohne Falsch wie die 
Tauben," davon dnrfte bei ihm, da es sich von selbst verstand r . 
nicht die Eede sein. Zu belehren und zu bessern ist der Teufel 
nicht, uberlisten muss man ihn ! Ihm Wahrheit entgegenstellen. 
ist thorichte Einfalt, er kennt ja eigentlich die Wahrheit, aber will 
sie nicht ; man muss ihn hintergehen und belugen und eben, 
dadurch Gott dienen. Wiirde Jemand, der es leibhaft mit dem: 
Teufel zu thun hatte, sich solcher Waffen und Vertheidigungs- 
mittel bedienen, so konnte das immer geschehen und der Erfolg 
abgewartet werden. Wird diese Taktik aber so gebraucht, dass- 
man den Zwischensatz als Axiom eingeschoben hat : die Menschen,. 
so lange sie noch nicht die Evkenntniss der Wahrheit haben, d. h.. 
so lange sie noch nicht die Lehre, die in diesem Kreise mit jenem 
Namen belegt worden ist, angenommen haben, stehen nicht bios 
in der Anfechtung vom Teufel, sondern in seiner Macht; man muss 
also, eben um sie zu retten und aus ihnen Kinder Gottes zu 
machen, den Teufel in ihnen bekampfen, gegen welchen sie selbst 
ganz ohnmachtig sind, ihn entweder gar nicht kennend, oder ihn. 
wohl gar verleugnend; so muss man eben sie selbst mit den 
Waffen gegen den Teufel behandeln, bis sie die Erkenntniss der 
Wahrheit gewonnen, d. h. angenommen und dadurch zum selbstiin- 
digen Kampfe gegen den Feind ausgeriistet und zum gewissen. 


Siege tiichtig gemacht sind. Es ist also ein ganz einfaches 
Dilemma gestellt : entweder die Wahrheit, d. h. jene Erkenntniss 
mit ihren Geheimnissen, ihren Aufschltissen, ihren Waffen wird 
^ngenommen ; oder diese Wahrheit mit ihren Attributen und 
Eigenschaften sind die Menschen, wie sie nun eben sind, und ohne 
Tiele Yorbereitung anzunehmen, ja zu ertragen nicht fiihig ; so 
lange aber dies nicht ist, stehen sie unwiderruflich, nothwendig und 
"vvehrlos unter der Herrschaft des Teufels. Es bleibt demnach 
oSTiclits iibrig als das Zweite zu jenem Dilemma : man muss den 
Teufel in ihnen bekampfen, und zwar, so wie es ihm gebiihrt. 
Wahrheit braucht er nicht, denn er kennt, aber will sie nicht, ja er 
missbraucht sie, wenn er nur irgend kann ; iiberlisten muss man 
ihn und so ihn mit sich selber schlagen ; ein Liigner ist er : wohl, 
er muss iiberboten und getauscht werden. — Die Wahrheit 
ist Gottes, die Luge ist des Teufels, Jedem also das Seinige; 
■den Teufel mit Wahrheit angehen und bedienen, heisst Gott 
verachten, und ihm seinen Theil, das ihm gebiihrende versagen, 
-w'ahrend den Teufel iiberlisten und beliigen, Gott dienen und ihm 
-das Seinige darbringen heisst. Es mus bei diesem Allen unvergessen 
foleiben, dass diese Taktik eben gegen die Menschen, gegen alle 
Menschen, die nicht die Erkenntniss der Wahrheit haben, auzuneh- 
men sei. Welch ein Abgrund eroffnete sich hier ! Und doch 
iiberredet man sich, so in der Wahrheit zu stehen, in der Liebe zu 
handeln, und das Wohlgefallen Gottes sich sicher zu erwerben. 
Was mm Ebel anlangt, so ist seine Stellung diese : er ist der 
vollkommene Mensch, der Heilige und Reine, er hat die Wahrheit 
,zum vollkommenen Theil, er ist sie. Ihm zur Seite stehen immer 
einige Auserwahlte, sie haben die Erkenntniss der Wahrheit von 
ihm erhalten, sie sind von ihm geheiligt worden, sie erfiillen ihre 
Bestimmung, nicht nur Berufene, sondern Auserwahlte, derenjanur 
wenige sind, zu sein ; ihre Namen werden einst glanzen, und ihrer ist 
die Herrlichkeit. Ihm (Ebel) gegeniiber steht die Welt; zunachst 
die Natur, aber nur durch die Siinde der Menschen seufzende 
Kreatur; sodann aber die Menschen selbst, aber geblendet oder 
verfinstert, was eines ist, durch den Teufel, der sich ja auch als 
Engel des Lichts kleiden und wenn moglich, die Auserwahlten 
selbst zum Falle bringen konne. Nun behauptet er freilich gar 
nicht, dass es nicht unter diesen vielen Menschen auch viele Be- 
rufene, Edelbegabte und durch den Geist mannigfach Erregte und 
Angezogene gebe, aber urn so unglucklicher sind sie ; denn eben sie 


werden von dem Feinde um so leichter getauscht; er lasst ilinen 
eine gewisse Frommigkeit, ein gewisses Christenthum, einen ge- 
wissen Eifer — aber Alles nur ohne und jenseits der Erkenntniss 
der Wahrhcit, und so ist derm doch Alles vergeblich und todt und 
eine leichte Beute des Teufels. Darum hoffte er immer und die 
Seinen mit ilim, es werde in einer Kiirze (iiber die aber schon viele 
Zeit vergangen ist) sich ein besonders gottliches Wunderzeichen an 
ilim ofFenbaren, damit die Besseren wenigstens, die ihrer Natur nach 
Berufenen und noch nicht Verstockten inne werden, wer er sei, und 
dass in ihm die Wabrheit selbst sei, dass auf ihn gesehen, ihm 
nachgewandelt werden miisse. Merkwiirdig ist's, dass in diesem 
Kreise immer das Jahr 1836 als das entscheidende, als der Ein- 
brucb des Tausendjahrigen Reichs mit seinen Vorkampfen betrachtet 
worden ist. Zu dieser Wahnvorstellung haben indess sowohl die 
Bengel'schen und die Jung-Stilling'schen Berecbnungen die Grund- 
lagen hergegeben, als jene Annahme auf einer Reihe von 
Begegnissen Ebel's und auf ihren zeitlicben Intervallen berubte. 
In dieser Voraussetzung der nahe bevorstebenden Veranderung 
scbeint man in jenem Kreise die sonst sorgfaltig geiibte Vorschrift 
vernachlassigt und zu einem dreisteren Verfahren bestimmt worden 
zu sein, wodurch denn allerdings eine Entscheidung, wenn aucli 
nicbt iiber das menscbliche Geschlecbt, sondern iiber das Wirken 
und Thun einiger Menscben, eben jener selbst sicli einzuleiten 
scbeint. Kann nun wohl gefragt werden, wie Ebel die ibm Ge- 
geniiberstehenden, d. h. Alle, die nicbt die Seinen sind, bebandle ? 
Als Kinder des Teufefs ! Hieraus folgt keinesweges, dass er sie sebr 
anfabre, wild anlasse und ziicbtige ; bierzu vielmebr muss man ilim 
sell on naher geriickt sein ; er bebandelt sie, wenn sie Nichts 
absichtlicli gegen ihn unternebmen, mit grosser Freundlicbkeit, 
Milde, lockend ; er sucbt den Teufel zu tauschen, damit dieser ja 
nicht merken moge, was denn eigentlich geschehen soil. Kommt 
man naher, so werden reine, lautere, evangelische Wabrbeiten mit 
aller Milde vorgetragen und Jedem begegnet, wie es ihm lieb, an- 
genehm und wohlthuend sein kann. Ist man weiter gekommen, so 
wird auf Reinigung von den Siinden und auf Einsicht in die Tiefen 
der Erkenntniss gedrungen. Nun werden Sundenbekenntnisse 
abgenommen, anfanglich nachsichtig und ruhig, dann immer strenger, 
fordernder; die Blicke triiben sich. Die Begegnung wird gemessner, 
drohender ; kurz, es kommt nun zu alle dem, was bereits oben gesehil- 
dcrt worden ist. Wendet Jemand auf diesem Wege den Rucken, so 


ist er verloren; es wird iiber ihn geseufzt, die Achseln gezuckt, er 
ist zuriickgewichen vom Ernst der Heiligung und zuriickgekehrt in 
die Finsterniss der Welt nnd ihre Verderbniss, er ist untreu und dem 
Teufel verfallen. Wer sonst aber neutral steht, der wird eben als im 
Schatten des Todes sitzend betrachtet, jedoch nicht angefeindet ; denn 
es ist ja des Feindes Schuld und der Untreue ; denn das wird zu- 
versichtlich angenommen, dass, wenn Niemand aus dieser Schule 
untreu geworden ware, das Licht scbon weit verbreitet und Viele 
gerettet, d. b. nabe und feme Anhanger Ebel's geworden wiiren. 
Aber diejenigen aucb, die eben nicht angefeindet werden, iiber die 
man aucb im Herzen keinen Groll triigt, baben desbalb docb auf 
schlichte, wahrbafte Behandlung keinen Anspruch ; sie konnen ja 
die Wahrheit nicht ertragen und werden vom Vater der Luge, der 
die Wahrheit nicht will, beherrscht; sie werden, in sofern man mit 
ihnen in Beriihrimg kommt, mit, " Weisheit" behandelt, d. h. man 
giebt ihnen, was ihnen zukommt, ihnen deutlich ist. Dies aber 
ist alles Andere eher als die Wahrheit ; mit anderen Worten, man 
behandelt sie nach dem Princip : " seid king wie die Schlangen," was 
eben die Anwendung der List, Unwahrheit u. s. w. in sich enthalt. 
Wer ihnen aber entgegen tritt, entgegen zu treten scheint, sei es, 
wer es wolle oder worin er wolle, gegen den ist nicht mehr wie 
gegen einen Bewusstlosen, im Dienste des Feindes Stehenden zu 
verfahren, sondern wie gegen einen mit seinem Willeri dem Feincle 
Ergebenen; an dem kann nichts Gutes mehr gefunden werden, so 
wenig als am Feinde selbst; welches Arge man von ihm aussage, 
er hat es verdient, und es war schon a priori, wenn es auch auf 
kerner Thatsache beruht, mit keiner bewiesen werden kann; diese 
kann vorausgesetzt und schlechthin behauptet werden; denn er 
ist ein Feind Gottes schlechthin, und ihn, soweit es geht, zu ver- 
tilgen, ist 'gerecht. Seine Ehre schonen? Ehre eines Feindes 
Gottes? Ehre eines Teufels? Und nicht bios er selbst kann 
nach solchen Grundsatzen behandelt werden, sondern auch in 
Beziehung auf ihn ist alles zum Zweck seiner Vernichtung 
Dienende gestattet in der Behandlung Anderer. 

Ich schweige ganz von der emporenden Weise, wie von Ebel 
und den Seinen gegen mich, den Grafen von Finkenstein und Prof. 
Olshausen verfahren worden ist, welche Alle doch nichts Feindliches 
gegen ihn untemommen hatten, sondern sich nur, weil sie Grund 
genug clazu in sich gefunden zu haben gewiss geworden waren, von 
ihm getrennt hatten. Man griff ihre Personen, ihre sittliche und 


biirgerliche Ehre, ja, so weit es gelingen wollte, selbst ihre iiussere 
Existenz schonungslos, listig und mit den Waffen der Liige an. 
Hievon aber, wie gesagt, ganz zu schweigen, so bietet die dermalige 
Verfahrungsweise Ebel's und der Seinen, da nun einmal eine Unter- 
euchung eingeleitet und, wie es scheint, unausweichbar und, wie 
sich dann bei uns von selbst versteht, mit strenger Gerechtigkeit 
hindurch gefiihrt werden soil, die klare und voile Anschaunng 
sowohl von dem Grundsatzlichen als von dem Praktiscben dieser 
Leute dar, wo sie es mit Gegnern zu thun zu haben glauben. 
Zuvorderst namlicb hatte es ilmen doch nicht entgehen sollen, was 
•Jedem offen vorliegt, dass namlicb Niemand gegen sie als Anklager 
aufgetreten sei, Niemand Feindscbaft gegen sie hege, Niemand 
Verfolgung gegen sie ube. Diestel, den Grafen von Finkenstein 
(ichhabe diesen Mann seit mebr als 10 Jabren nur einmal zufallig 
und wenig gesprocben, stebe eben so lange in keinem Briefwechsel 
mit ihm, acbte ihn aber wie seine Gemablin sehr boch) mit den 
grobsten und schmabendsten Briefen verfolgend, wird endlich durch 
den Rechtskonsulenten des Grafen zur Zuriicknahme der Beleidi- 
gungen aufgefordert, wenn er sicb keinem Injurien-Processe aus- 
setzen wolle; er versagt dieses, und die Klage mit den dazu 
notbigen Belegen wird der juristiscben zustiindigen Landes- 
behorde iibergeben. Diese findet in den Belegen Dinge, die in 
bedenklicber Beziehung zur Kircben-Disciplin stehn, und halt es 
fiir ihre Pflicbt, biervon dem Consistorio Anzeige zu machen ; 
dieses findet diese Momente nocb bedenklicher, untersucht dieselben, 
soweit es ihm zustand, und jedenfalls mit aller der Zartheit und 
Beriicksichtigung, die nur eine geistliche Behorde dem geistlichen 
Gegenstande zuzuwenden vermag ; das Consistorium bericbtet 
dariiber der vorgesetzten hochsten Behorde, und die Untersuchung 
wird nun von Staatswegen angeordnet. Es giebt hier also gar 
keinen Anklager. Doch nimmt zuvorderst Graf von Kanitz 
keinen Anstand, in einem offentlichen Blatte, der allgemeinen Kir- 
chenzeitung, den sittlichen Ruf des Grafen von Finkenstein, seines 
Schwagers, und der Grafin von Finkenstein, seiner Nichte und 
zugleich Schwiigerin, als in der ganzen Provinz libel bekannt 
darzustellen, dabei auch allerlei andere, wenn auch etwas verdeckter 
ausgesprochene Anschwarzungen anderer Personen zu insinuiren. 
Zugleich erhebt sich freiwillig eine grosse Zahl der achtungswer- 
thesten, zum Theil ihrer iiusseren Stellung nach ausgezeichnetsten 
Manner der Provinz, offentlich bezeugend, dass Graf von Finkenstein 


and seine Gemalilin nur als edle, sittlich hoch gestellte Personen 
bekannt seien. Es wird eine Injurienklage gegen Graf von Kanitz 
der zustandigen Landesbehorde iibergeben — er aber, ein loyaler 
Unterthan, ein Staatsdiener (Tribunalsrath) und cbristlicher Mann, 
wiirdigt seine Obrigkeit keiner Verantwortung, er stellt sich ihr gar 
nicht, weil sie Diestel gegen Graf von Finkenstein verurtheit hatte. 
So weit lautet dasjenige, was offentlich bekannt geworden ist. Aber 
weiter. Die hb'chsten Orts angeordnete Untersuchung durch den 
Kriminalsenat beginnt, Ebel und die Seinigen leugnen Alles und bis 
auf das Geringste lierab ; gegen alle Zeugen wird protestirt ; sie sind 
Liigner, Verleumder, Siindenschlemmer, ja zum Meineide bereit, 
jeder Siinde fahig, scliuldig; es giebt kein Verhaltniss, das nicht 
verletzt und beschimpft wird. Die vom Ricbter noting erachteten 
Confrontationem verwandeln sich von Seiten Ebel's und der Seinigen 
in die ehrenriihrendsten und jedes sittigen Anstandes ermangelnden 
Zankereien ; von sich selbst aber sagen sie mundlich und shriftlich 
mit einer Naivetat, welche die epische weit hinter sich lasst, das 
Edelste und Hochste aus : an ihnen ist kein anderer Fehler als 
hochstens ein Uebermaass von Tugend, das die argen Menschen 
nicht ertragen kbnnen und sich deshalb emporen, auflehnen, und 
weil nicht Uebles in Wahrheit vorzubringen sei, zur Luge und 
Verleumdung greifen. Diese so bezeichneten Personen sind aber 
keine aus der Hefe des Volks, keine ihren Mitbiirgern unbekannte 
Menschen, es sind altere Leute, Geistliche, Gelehrte, Staatsdiener 
u. s. w., fast Alle, oder wohl gar Alle Hausvater, und es giebt 
keinen unter ihnen, der nicht in grosserem oder geringerem Maasse 
sich offentlich Vertrauen erworben und darin bewahrt hatte. Alle 
aber wurden schlechthin der Liige, der Verleumdung aufs Ent- 
scheidendste beziichtigt ; von Keinem aber auch nur angenommen, 
er konne vielleicht in einem Irrthume begriffen und wenigstens 
subjectiv wahr sein. Nein, sie sind Alle Verleumder mit Bewusstsein 
und bosem Willen ! Ach, wie leicht ware es doch eben diesen so 
hart angelassenen Zeugen, sich das Lob der Wahrheit, ja, einen 
ganzen Strahlenkranz hochster Lobeserhebungen als Menschen und 
Christen zu erwerben, wenn es ihnen nur moglich gewesen ware 
wirklich zu liigen ! wenn sie nur auch die Obrigkeit als vom bosen 
Feinde besessen betrachtet und es angemessener gefunden batten, 
sie zu beliigen ! wenn auch sie nnr gemeint hatten, es sei Gottes- 
dienst und Wahrheitstreue, die Mittel durch den Zweck zu heiligen 
und zu liigen, anstatt Wahrheit zu sagen ! wenn sie nur sich 


hatten iiberreden konnen, ein solches Yerfahren sei nicht liisterlicli 
und im tiefsten Grande gottesleugnerisch ! wenn auch sie nur 
Gotzen-mit Gottesdienst hatten verwechseln konnen ! 

Freilich, von Seiten Ebel's und der Seinen ist Nichts in dieser 
Art unterlassen, Nichts fiir zu schwer gefunden worden, ja, was 
man niclit fiir moglich unter gewissen Umstanden halten mochte, 
es ist dennoch geschehen. Menschen zu beliigen — leider, dies 
geschieht nicht seiten; die Obrigkeit hintergehen — auch dies ist 
leider nichts Unerhortes ; wer aber auch nur an eine gottliche 
Weltregierung glaubt, und wer mit der Geschichte der Menschen 
und Yolker nur irgend wie auf eine wirklich innerliche Weise be- 
kannt geworden ist, dem ist die hohe und gottliche Bedeutung der 
Oberhaupter, Herrscher und Konige der Volker wenigstens so weit 
im Gefuhle aufgegangen, dass er sich ihnen gegeniiber, namentlich, 
wo es sich urn wichtige menschliche und gottliche Angelegenheiten 
handelt, unmittelbar zur Wahrhaftigkeit genothigt fiihlt. Noch 
jranz anders ist, wenn Sinn und Inhalt reinen Christenthums nicht 
fehlt. Dieses, Idololatrie und Unvernunft jeder Art aufhebend, 
fiihrt unmittelbar dahin, in der gottlichen Regierung der Welt 
iiberall einen heiligen Willen und eine gottliche, auch der mensch- 
lichen Vernunft willig sich entfaltende Ordnung zu erblicken. 

Dieses Christenthum lehrt, innerlichst begreifen, dass bei aller 
Gleichheit der Menschen vor Gott die Abstnfungen in der Erschei- 
nung und Darstellung der menschlichen, fiir gottliche Zweeke exi- 
stirenden Gesellschaft eine hohe und unantastbare Bedeutung haben, 
und dass, wer sich in dieser gottlichen Weltordnung einem Andern 
untergeordnet sieht, dies als seine gottliche, also auch selige 
Bestimmnng anerkennen miisse, und seine Unterordnung ist in der 
That, wo er auch stehe, immer nur eine Unterordnung gegen Gott ; 
dieses also in sich Seligkeit und Freiheit, jenes Unseligkeit und 
Knechtschaft. Wer seinem Konige daher sich tief, gern und mit 
allem Bewusstsein unterordnet, dem begegnet Nichts von Knechts- 
gefiihl, sondern er weiss es, dass dieses ein Akt seiner Freiheit ist, 
dnrch welche er vor Gott dem Konige gleich wird. Und was die 
hohere Menschenwiirde auch in der untergeordneten Stellung un- 
verletzt und rein erhalt, ist ja eben das Recht nicht nur, sondern 
auch die Verpflichtung gegen Jeden, am Allermeisten aber gegen 
das Hochste nnd den Hochsten. Und so ist es auch indiesem Sinne 
bestatigend, dass die Wahrheit das allein frei Machende sei. Ware 
es nun wohl moglich, dass man von diesem Standpunkte aus unwahr 


unci hintergehend unci absichtlich tiiuschend verfaliren konnte gegen 
seine Obere, gegen seinen Konig selbst ? und ist dieser Standpunkt 
nicht der verniinftig christliche ? Ich spreche hier noch gar nicht 
von der Grosse des biirgerlicben Vergehens, wenn man den Konig 
selbst zu tauschen sucht, nnd ebenso wenig andererseits yon clem 
eben so thorichten als falschen Vorgeben dieser Sectengenossen, 
dass sie vorzliglich, ja wohl einzig dem Throne wie dem .... 
treu gesinnt ? und ergeben waxen ; denn leider sprecben so thorichte 
mid vermessene Behauptungen auch Personen aus anderen, sonst in 
aller Weise wahrhaft cbristlich und edel gesinnten Kreisen aus. 
Aber was aus dem Kreise Ebel's eben in dieser Hinsicbt bei Gele- 
genheit der eingeleiteten Untersucliung nach sebr glaubhaften 
Nachrichten gescbeben sein soil, das verdient als cbarakteristisch 
hervorgehoben zu werden; nicht als Anklage, aber als ein fiir die 
psychologische Auffassung wichtiges Moment. Es giebt nicht nur 
in unserm Vaterlande, sondern in ganz Deutschland, im ganzen 
Europa keinen gebildeten Menschen, der es nicht wiisste, dass eben 
unser Konig ein wahrhaft frommer sei, dem Gerechtigkeit und 
Wahrheit das Theuerste und, was diesem entgegen, ein Grauel ist. 
Nun an diesen, an unsern allverehrten Konig wendet man sich, 
seine Gnade, seinen Schutz anrufend fiir einen frommen, von Liignern 
und Verlaumdern hart verfolgten treuen Hirten einer christlichen 
Gemeine. Wer wusste nicht, dass ein solcher Anruf das fromme 
Herz unsres erhabenen Konigs erregen konnte ? Wie aber wagt 
man es da von Verlaumdung, von Luge und von Verfolgung zu 
reden, gegen den Konig selbst zu reden, wo Nichts vorge- 
bracht ist, als was den Gewissenhaftesten der wohl erwogene 
und mildeste Ausdruck des Thatsachlichen ist ? oder war der 
Bittsteller selbst in einer Tauschung begriffen ? Dann hatte er 
wenigstens leichtsinnig und unberufen gehandelt. Aber davon 
ist hier keine Rede; der Graf von Kanitz hat es gethan, er, 
der allerdings von Allem auf s Genaueste unterrichtet ist — aber 
eben deshalb auch haarscharf und vollkommen bestimmt weiss, wie 
verschonencl und auf alle Weise gemtissigt gegen Ebel und die Seinen 
verfahren worden ist von denen, die er nun als Liigner anklagt, und 
von seinem und auch unserm Konige. Er weiss es, dass Alles, 
was geschehen, was ausgesagt worden ist, abgesehen von der voll- 
kommensten Wahrheit desselben, von der Obrigkeit ausgesagt ist, 
die nicht von Diesem oder Jenem zur Untersuchung durch eine 
angebrachte Klage veranlasst, sondern von der hochsten Stelle dazu 


angewiesen worden ist, vor der aber zu erscheinen und auf ihre 
Fragen zu antworten nach der Wahrheit, ja gar keine Wahl ge- 
lassen, sondern schlechthin Pflicht ist. Und was gab es denn 
schon zu schreien und die allerhochste Gnade anzurufen, wo die 
Untersuchung noch schwebt und nach aller Vorschrift unsrer Ge- 
setze gefiihrt ist ? Oder fiirchtet er die Justiz ? die Preussische 
Justiz ? er, ein Preussischer Tribunalsrath ? Mochte er lieber eine 
tiirkische gehandhabt haben ? Nun wahrlich, dann hatte er sich 
nicht an den Konig von Preussen wenden sollen. Will ich aber 
hiermit den Grafen von Kanitz als einen absichtlichen Yerbreclier 
geschildert haben, weil er in der That Etwas, das eben Geschilderte, 
begangen, das kaum anders als ein Verbrechen, und kein geringes, 
genannt werden kann ? Das sei feme ! Beweisen aber kann es, 
wie gestattet, wie schlechthin gestattet in der Lehre und in den 
Grundsatzen es sei, ohne Unterschied Jeden mit Liigen behandeln 
zu diirfen, wenn er nicht die Erkenntniss der "Wahrheit hat, und 
wenn es dem Zwecke und dem Nutzen der Secte dienen kann. 
Ferner : es wird glaubhaft berichtet, dass die Katechumenen Ebel's, 
einige ihm nahe stehende Frauen, sodann aber anch raehre Andere 
aufgefordert, ja recht eigentlich gepresst, von Mitgliedern der Secte 
(diese zogen herum, urn Unterschriften auf eine sehr andrangende, 
bedriingende Weise zu sammeln) sich mit Bittschriften an Seine 
Majestat den Konig gewendet haben sollen, in denen die vollige 
Unschuld und Eeinheit Ebel's und der Seinen bethenert und alles 
gegen ihn Vorgebrachte als Liige und Verleumdung bezeichnet 
worden ist. Nun ist Nichts gewisser, als dass weder in jenem 
Kreise, noch von ihm ausgehend durch Andere Etwas geschehen 
darf, am Wenigsten etwas Bedeutendes, ohne die ausdmckliche 
Zustimmung und das bestimmte Geheiss Ebel's, theils wegen des 
unbedingten Gehorsams, den man ihm schuldig zu sein glaubt, 
theils der Ueberzeugung wegen, dass Nichts gelingen konne, das 
nicht durch seine Billigung gewissermassen die Verheissung 
erhalten hat. (Den wirklichen Charakter des Gehorsams in 
diesem Kreise zu erkennen, kann auch dieser Zug dienen.) Dass 
Schritte solcher Art wahrscheinlich iiberall, bei uns ganz verge- 
bliche sind, versteht sich von selbst. Nicht aber von den Erfolgen, 
sondern von den Motiven, Principien und Methoden des Verfahrens 
dieser Secte ist hier die Eede. Und in dieser Beziehung muss es 
zu fragen gestattet sein : hat es in dieser Beziehung viel, oder auch 
nur wenig Aehnlichkeit mit dem eines Ehrenmannes, wenn etwa 


eine Untersuchung iiber einen auf seine Ehre Bezug habenden Ge- 
genstand cingeleitet ist, oder wohl gar eines Christen, der iiber 
seinen Glauben, iiber seine Ueberzeugungen, iiber sein Leben selbst 
Rechenschaft geben soil ? ist es nicht vielmehr gewiss, dass jeder 
Ehrenmann, und um so mehr jeder fromme Christ (der doch wohl 
ein Ehrenmann iiberdies ist) Nichts mehr wiinschen, Nichts mehr 
befordern werde, als dass die Untersuchung moglichst genau, 
strenge, und bis in's Einzelne eindringend ausfalle, damit er und 
Wahrheit rein und unbefleckt hervorgehen mogen ? Weder ausser- 
ordentliche Hilfe, noch Schutz der Hohen oder Hochsten werden 
sie nachsuchen, noch weniger aber die Untersuchung zu unter- 
driicken, noch zu ersticken suchen. Und soil ich wohl fragen, ob 
sie zu tobenden Schimpfreden durch Ehrenkrankung Anderer ihre 
Zuflucht nehmen werden ? 

Ich glaube, es seien nun die bisherigen Ertauterungen so weit 
fortgefuhrt und enthalten hinreichenden Stoff, um zur Ableitung 
einiger wichtiger iibersichtlicher Resultate dienen zu konnen. 

1. Nicht dem mindesten Zweifel scheint es unterworfen zu sein r 
dass eine solche Gemeinschaft, wie die in hier in Rede stehende eine 
religiose Secte genannt werden miisse. 

2. Im hochsten Grade aber zweifelhaft ist's, ob ihr auch die 
Benennung einer christlichen Secte beigelegt werden konne ; dena 
was haben deren Grundlehren des Christenthums ausser der 
Zufiilligkeit, gleicher Worte sich hier und da zu bedienen, denen 
jedoch die auseinandergehendste, ja entgegengesetzte Bedeutung- 

3. Es ist zwar von Ebel verschiedentlich behauptet worden, dass 
zwischen seiner so genannten philosophischen Lehre und seiner 
christlichen weiter keine Verbindung sei, jene sei etwas auf speku- 
lativem Wege gewonnenes, diese eine christliche, im Glauben 
befestigte. Es ist aber unbegrei^lich, wie man glauben konne, 
hiermit nachdeukende Menschen tiiuschen zu konnen ; denn: 

a. Der Weg, auf welchem man eine Ueberzengung gewonnen, 
eine Wahrheit gefunden hat, ist in Beziehung auf Ueberzeugung 
und Wahrheit selbst ganz gleichgiltig. Diese bleiben stehen und 
konnen, wenn sie in sich selbst nicht aufgehoben werden, nicht 
weggeschoben werden. 

Wie, wenn Jemand etwa auf speculativem Wege die Ueber- 
zeugung der Nichtexistenz Gottes gewonnen hiitte, konnte er 
dabei Christ, ja christlicher Lehrer bleiben und, daruber zur Re- 


chenschaft gezogen, antworten : philosophirend leugnc ich Gott, 
aber auf der Kanzel und auf dem Altare bekenne ich ihn. Man 
kann nicht entgegnen, Atheismus sei Etwas, zu dem man nur 
durch den hochsten Trotz oder die hochste Unkunde aller Vernunft- 
nnd Naturgesetze gelangen konne, eigentlich etwas Unmogliches, 
der Vergleich mit einem solchen aber unstatthaft. Allerclings 
mnsste jeder Atlieismus von der genannten Beschaffenlieit sein, 
d. h. entweder in der Anwendung oder auf den Triimmern aller 
Vernunft- und Naturgesetze aufgefiihrt worden sein ; hat aber die 
Schonherr-Ebel'sche Lehre einem besseren, oder irgend einen Zu- 
sammenhang mit Vernunft und Natur, yon der heiligen Schrift 
ganz und gar abgesehen ? 

b. Ebel hat gar keinen Anstand genommen, auch zu sagen, 
seine sogenannte philosophische Lehre habe er nur problematisch 
hingestellt. Nennt man aber wohl ein Problem Erkenntniss der 
Wahrheit ? Ja, diese Vertheidigungsrede Ebel's, abgesehen von 
ihrer vollkommenen wissenschaftlichen Unwahrheit, ist noch viel 
schlimmer und ihn hiirter anklagend, ja, noch mehr iiberfiihrend, 
als das Erste. Denn man bedenke, wie unendlich schwach, ja v, T ie 
fast ohne eine christliche Ueberzeugung sein Glaube an die Worte 
und Lehren des Evangeliums sein miisse, wenn sie sich nicht einmal 
als hinreichend kraftig in ihm haben erweisen konnen, urn Etwas, 
das weder mit den Gesetzen der Vernunft noch der Natur wohl ver- 
einbar ist, das er iiberdies selbst nicht einmal mit der subject! ven 
Ueberzeugung der Wahrheit angenommen hat, sondern nur filr etwas 
Problematisches halt, vollig aus dem Wege raumen zu konnen. 

c. Ebel hat aber in der That diese Erkenntniss nicht nur fur 
wahr, fiir objectiv wahr gehalten, sondern auch filr den wahren und 
einzigen Schliissel zur Einsicht in die Bibel, zu demjenigen, was er 
lebendiges Christenthum genannt, und als dessen Ansatz er die 
kirchliche Eechtglaubigkeit als nichtig und todt, die zu nichts 
fiihren kann als hochstens zur Tauschung iiber sich selbst und 
endlich zum Tode und Verderben zu nennen pflegte. In diesem 
Shine wurden die orthodoxen und frommsten Geistlichen unserer 
Stadt, z. B. der verstorbene Erzbischof Dr. Borowski, die beiden 
Prediger der Altrossgartschen Kirche, Kahle und Weiss, der Pfarrer 
Weiss, Hahn, als er bei uns war, als todte Christen, deren Wirk- 
sarnkeit hochst verderblich sei, mit grossem Eifer und nicht gerin- 
gem Zornmuthe geschildert. In diesem Sinne wurde auch mit der 
grossten Verwerfung von dem Berlinischen Christentliuni ge- 


sprochen ; in eben diesem Sinne sprach Ebel immer viel gtinstiger 
Yon den sogenannten Rationalisten ; denn, unzufrieden zwar mit 
ihren Resultaten, lobte er doch an ihnen. dass sie sich wenigstens 
docli nach anderen Beweismitteln umsahen, als eben die kirchliche 
Orthodoxie iiberliefert; von ihnen daher meinte und hoffte er, sie 
wlirden auch zur Erkenntniss der Wahrheit, d. h. zu seiner zu be- 
wegen sein, wenn mann sie zuvor nur irgend wie zur personlichen 
Unterwerfung bringen konnte. 

d. In Wahrheit hat auch Ebel so wenig sein philosophisches 
Credo (die mit dem Namen der Erkenntniss der Wahrheit belegte 
Lehre) von seinem kirchlichen (denn evangelisch kann es nicht 
genannt werden) getrennt, dass Jeder, der nur mit jenem einiger- 
massen bekannt war, in der Predigt theils Andeutungen, theils aber 
auch bestimmte Ausfiihrungen desselben, wenn auch in so ver- 
deckter und in Bibelworte gehullter Weise, dass es den mit jener 
Lehre Unbekannten verborgen bleibt, finden konnte und musste. 
Ja, es verhalt sich auch so mit den meisten, wenn nicht mit alien 
von Ebel durch den Druck bekannt gemachten Predigten. 

4. Das Haupt dieser Secte ist Ebel, jedoch nicht so wie auch 
andere Secten von jeher Haupter mid Vorsteher gehabt haben ; 
denn er hat in seinem Kreise nicht bios wie die Haupter andrer Sec- 
ten erne hohere menschliche Stellung, sondern gottliche Bedeutung, 
wie das aus der Lehre selbst gefolgert, hierdurch aber wiederum die 
Lehre begriindet, d. h. ohne Grund festgehalten, zunachst aber un- 
bedingter Gehorsam fur und absolute Unterwerfung Aller unter 
ihn herbeigefiihrt und mit der aussersten Strenge gefordert und 
beobachtet worden ist. Das ist sattsam eben dargethan. 

5. Stand aber einmal Ebel da als vollkommener Mensch, als 
der Heilige und Reine (nicht bios dieses Kreises, sondern auch des 
Universums) unserer Zeit, hat er nicht bios die Wahrheit, sondern 
war er sie auch, war er nicht bios der Reine, sondern war eben seine 
Wirkung auf Andere (d. h. auf das zweite Urwesen, also besonders 
auf die Frauen)heiligend und reinigend, so ergab sich nun von selbst 

a. Ob es wahr sei, was er sagte, lehrte, that, danach konnte ja 
gar nicht gefragt werden; es war wahr, weil er es gesagt, gelehrt, 
gethan hatte. 

b. Sein L'mgang mit den Frauen ware nach sonstigen Beur- 
theilungen unziichtig zu nennen gewesen, ja er selbst wusste fiir 
Andere, selbst wenn sie nur im Entferntesten auf diese Weise ver- 
fuhren, keine andere Benennung ; weil er aber der Reine war. so 


konnte audi sein Thun nicht unrein sein, und weil er der Heilige 
war, nicht unheilig sein. Er beruft sich daher auch fort und fort 
auf seine Reinheit, ja auf seine natiirliche Keuschheit (er, der sonst 
immer behauptet und lehrt, von Natur sei an uns, d. h. an Allem 
ausser ihm Alles bose und verderbt.) 

.c. Als vollkommner Mensch war seine Natur, weise zu sein. 
Weisheit aber besteht darin, Jeden so behandeln zu konnen, wie er 
es eben braucht und ihm froramt ; es war also ein Vorzug, Jedem 
ein Anderer zu sein, nicht, wie Paulus, Allen Alles. In der That 
wechselte er die Farbe chamaleontisch, und seine Erscheinung war 
mehr als die eines Proteus. Dass die Leute, dies bemerkend, ihn 
stets fiir einen Falschen und Heuchler hielten, das erklarte er in 
heiteren Stunden als eine schwere Finsterniss, die das Laud noch 
deckt, wodurch aber die Weisheit in der Nothwendigkeit des Wech- 
sels ihrer Erscheinung nicht erkannt werde ; in Stunden des Ver- 
drusses aber wurde dies dadurch erklart,'dass irgend Jemand im 
Kreise gesiindigt hat, ein verborgener Bann da sein musse, der eine 
solche Verwirrung anrichte. Und deren gab es leider viele. 

d. Der Heilige und Reine sollte doch nothwendig dem Bosen in 
der Welt (dem Fiirsten der Welt, dem Teufel) entgegen wirken ; 
dieser aber ist ein Liigner, diesem muss nun das Reich herbeizu- 
fiihren, diejenige Gegenwehr entgegengesetzt werden, dnrch welche 
er die Wahrheit mit Bewusstsein und aus freiem Willen zuriick 
gewiesen hatte ; dies aber ist nur moglich durch die List, und zwar 
eben durch die List der Wahrheit. Nnn beherrscht ja aber der 
Teufel Alle, die nicht in der Erkenntniss der Wahrheit stehn, es 
miissen also Alle mit List behandelt werden, d. h. iiberlistet, d. h. 
der Teufel in ihnen bekiimpft werden. 

Das grosse Maass der hierzu gebrauchten Lligen wurde dem 
Dienste der Wahrheit zu Gute geschrieben, ohne das Gewissen 
irgend wie zu beschwercn. Diesel be Weisheit wurde aber nicht 
nur gegen die Draussenstehenden angewendet, sondern auch gegen 
die Mitglieder des Kreises selbst; denn nur Wenige von ihnen 
waren ja vollig hindurch gedrungen, die Meisten waren ja auch 
angezogen und erweckt, doch nicht durchweg erleuchtet und zu 
vollkommener Mannesstiirke herangereift ; auch sie waren ja noch 
den Anfechtnngen des Feindes ansgesetzt, noch vielfach dnnkel 
und zur Finsterniss geneigt, auch sie also mussten mit List be- 
handelt werden. Zur gleichen Weisheit aber mm gehort es auch, 
class jeder zum Kreise Gehorige, welche Stufe er auch inne habe 


in die Meinimg gesetzt und in ihr erhalten werde, ihm sei Alles 
mitgetheilt, er wisse Alles, vor ihm habe man kein Geheimniss. 
Wild er dennoch spiiter weiter gefiihrt, so wird ihm das fruhere 
Vorenthalten als eine Handlung liebender Weisheit begreiflich ge- 
macht, nun aber, das erfahrt er wieder, wisse er Alles. Wird man 
miter solchen Behandlungen von einem'unheimlichen Gefiihle er- 
griffen, und hat man noch nicht Energie zur entscheidenden Tren- 
nung gewonnen, so bleibt Nichts iibrig, als dieses Unheimliche in 
sich selbst heimlich zu verschliessen, da sonst die Begegnung duster 
und rauh wird. Zu jener Energie aber gelangt man nur nach 
vielen inneren Schmerzen und Kampfen ; denn wie ist doch dafiir 
gesorgt worden, dass man sich zuvor gewissermassen gefangen gcge- 
ben, und sich selbst in Fesseln geschlagen habe ? Zur Zeit, als 
ich diesem Kreise noch angehorte, d. i. vor nun fast 11 Jahren, gab 
es wohl nur 4 Mitglieder desselben, die zur vollkommenen Mannes- 
starke, der Alles enthiillt werden, die Alles tragen konnte, gelangt 
waren ; diese bestanden aus 3 Frauen : Grafinnen v. d. Groben, v. 
Kanitz (diese letztere verstorben), Friiulein Emilie v. Schrotter; das 
vierte Mitglied war freilich keine Frau, gewiss aber audi kein Mann ; 
denn Graf v. Kanitz war dieses 4te Mitglied, und ihm tritt man 
gewiss nicht zu nahe, wenn man ihm bei williger Einraumung man- 
cher Eigenschaften, ja selbst Yorziige alles Mannliche abspricht. 

Ich fahre nun in der Darstellung selbst fort. Eine solche in 
Geheimniss sich hullende Verbindung konnte nicht bestehen, ohne 
bemerkt, ohne beobachtet und beurtheilt zu werden. Dass die 
Urtheile nicht gleich, iiber Manche ungerecht waren, ist naturlich, 
und dariiber zu rechten ware unrecht. Worin aber Alle iiberein- 
kommen, das war ein Gefiihl des Misstrauens und des Missachtens. 
Ja, da Yiele unbefangen genug urtheilten, so kam es bald dahin, 
dass sich die Annahme sehr verbreitete : Ebel ziehe unter dem 
Scheme der Heiligkeit junge und hubsche Damen an sich, verhandle 
mit ihnen in Worten Gottseliges, in der That Fleischliches und 
grobst Sinnliches ; altere reiche Frauen mussten ihm die Tochter 
zur Einweihung in die tiefere Frommigkeit zufiihren, dabei es aber 
auch nicht an ausseren Opfern, Geschenken, an Geld und Sachen 
fehlen lassen, reiche Grafen und andere Wohlhabende aber eben falls 
angenehrne Opfer darbringen, Alle, die mit Ebel in Verbindung 
standen, waren im Publicum mit dem Namen Mucker (Schein- 
heilige) bezeichnet ; sie batten, in welchen Verhiiltnissen sie auch 
stehen mochten, ungemeine Schwierigkeiten zu iiberwinden; man 


blieb gem ausser alien naheren Verhaltnissen mit ilmen. Yiele 
legten sich auch nicht einmal den Zwang anf, ihr Misstrauen und 
Missachten zn verbergen. Oft wurde in dem Kreise dariiber ge- 
sprochen und in besseren Stimmungen von Ebel als Ermunterung 
gedeutet : es ware die Schmach Cliristi, die man zu tragen hiitte, 
die man willig und freudig auf sich nehmen miisse ; in triiben Stim- 
mungen dagegen (und diese warden immer baufiger und am Meisten 
iiber diejenigen ausgegossen, die dem Kreise langere Zeit an- 
gehorten und den Erwartungen noch nicht entsprachen) waren sie, 
hiess es, hindurch gedrungen, so wiirde auch Alles herrlich stehen. 
Was sie aber hiitten than und leisten sollen, das blieb verborgen. 
Es wurde geseufzt, Achsel gezuckt, gemurrt, etc. ; Ebel erklarte 
voll Zorn, er miisse Alles leiden, ihm geschehe alles Wehe, ihm 
dem Unschuldigen ; das Reich Gottes wiirde aufgehalten, nicht 
durch die draussen stehenden Armen, die sich ja nicht helfen konn- 
ten, da sie nicht die Erkenntniss der Wahrheit hatten, sondern 
durch die Triigheit und Lassigkeit der Mitglieder des Kreises; dem 
Reiche Gottes miisse Gewalt geschehen. Solcher und almlicher 
heftiger Reden wurden viele gehalten ; die Damen blickten mit 
Thriinen auf Ebel, den unschuldig Leidenden, Heiligen und Reinen. 
Wer nach Sinn verlangte, ging leer aus, musste aber sehr still sein. 
Nun jedenfalls nahm das Publicum immer mehr in der Ueberzeu- 
gung zu, dass Ebel nicht derjenige sei, der er scheme, dass Un- 
heilvolles im Hintergrunde liege ; da man nun iiberdies wusste, 
dass die Anhiinger Ebel's, namentlich der weibliche Theil emsig mit 
Werbungen sich beschaftigte, so waren Haus- und Familienvater 
sehr wachsam ; denn es wurde fur ein Ungliick geachtet, wenn 
Jemand in diesen Kreis herein<?ezc>^en wurde. 

Wie sehr sich das friihe schon am hiesigen Orte so verhalten 
habe, das bezeugen zwei Druckschriften des Herrn Consistorial- 
rath Klihler ; er liess niimlich in den Jahren 1822, 23, wenn ich 
nicht irre, 2 Hefte einer Schrift drucken, der er den Titel : Phila- 
gathos gegeben. In geistreicher, gewandter und lebendiger Dar- 
stellung, wie sie diesem ausgezeichneten Manne eigenthiimlieh ist, 
werden die inneren Verhaltnisse dieser Verbindung, namentlich 
Ebel in seiner Tendenz nicht nur, sondern auch seinem Thun nach 
genau, ja fast portraithaft gezeichnet, Schein und Sein dieser Secte 
wird philosophisch und physiologisch scharf aufgefasst und durch- 
gefuhrt ; cler Schluss stellt eine Scene dar, die Schrecken und 
Entsetzen erregt und dock kein Fictum ist. Das geringste Yer- 


dienst dieser Schrift ist die poetisclie Erfindung, sie enthiilt viel- 
mehr gar Nichts in Beziehung auf Sachen und Personen, was 
niclit damals die ganz allgemeine Annahme in hiesiger Stadt gewe- 
sen ware, deshalb gab es auch beim Erscheinen dieser Schrift kein 
Rathen und kein Zweifeln, wer etwa mit diesem oder jenem Namen, 
ja mit dieser oder jener Andeutung gemeint sein sollte, sondern 
Alles vielmehr war sofort Allen klar, weil Allen znvor Alles be- 
kannt war, wenigstens in der Voranssetzung als moraliscbe Ueber- 
zeugung, wenn auch Niemand die juridische zu geben vermogend 
war, noch weniger aber Jemand so leicht es vermocht hatte wie der 
genannte Verfasser des Philagathos aus der vor den Augen des 
Geistes schwebenden "VVirklichkeit das Wesentlichste herauszu- 
greifen und mit geschickter, sichrer Hand es zur festen Betrach- 
tung hinzustellen. Ja, es ist hochst merkwiirdig und fiir den 
ersten Augenblick kaum glaublich, doch aber streng wahr und aus 
der eben gegebenen Schilderung, wie die Mitglieder des Kreises 
behandelt worden sind, begreiflich, dass in jener Schrift Manches 
deutlich und bestimmt als innerer Yorgang des Kreises, als That- 
sache angegeben worden ist, was unter den Mitgliedern selbst 
Vielen, ja selbst schon Yorgeriickteren, z. B. Olshausen und mir 
unbekannt gewesen ist, wenigstens damals ; denn spliter habe icli es 
allerdings erfahren. 

Alles bis hierher Bemerkte bezieht sich lediglich auf Ebel und 
seine Erklarung, indessen ist hiemit auch in der That Alles fiir die 
Erklarung der in Rede stehenden Sache nicht bios beriihrt worden, 
sondern wirklich abgethan ; denn das erchiitternde Wort Ludwig's 
XIY. " V etat c'est moi " konnte Ebel in Beziehung auf den von 
ihm gebildeten Kreis mit viel grosserem Rechte sprechen. Nie, 
und das ist die strengste Wahrheit, hat ein Despot willkiirlicher 
geherrscht, nie ein Jesuitengeneral strengeren Gehorsam gefordert 
und erhalten, nie ein Pabst so schnell und viel kanonisirt und 
anathematisirt als Ebel. 

Doch ist von einigen anderen Personen noch Erwahnung zn 
thun ; es wird dies kurz geschehen konnen, zumal sie schon ange- 
fiihrt sind und Einiges liber sie bemerket. Die Personen aber, 
deren ich noch zu gedenken habe, sind : die verstorbene Griifin von 
Kanitz (geb. von Derschau), die ^Grafin von der Groben, Graf von 
Kanitz, Diestel und ich selbst. 

1. Die nachherige Grafin von Kanitz, geb. von Derschau ist 
die alteste Freundin Ebel's gewesen. Ihr Yater, den ich person- 


licli nicht gekannt habe, ein preussischer Major, scheint ein Maim 
der wackersten Art gewesen zu sein, von frommer christlicher Ge- 
sinnung, dabei aber dem Mysteriosen (im besten Sinne) etwas 
zugeneigt. Christlicli erzogen, vom verstorbenen Erzbischof von 
Borowski unterrichtet und eingesegnet, lernte Friiulein von Der- 
schau friihe, jedoch erst (wenn ich nicbt irre) nach dem Tode ihres 
Vaters Ebel als Prediger kennen. Der junge, schone, fenrige 
Redner macbte grossen Eindruck auf sie, und sie suchte seine per- 
sonliche Bekanntschaft. Hier wurde sie inne, dass sie vorher das 
Christenthum gar nicht gekannt babe ; in der That erhielt sie bald 
ein neues. Sie hatte als breiteste Basis ihrer Natur eine starke 
Sinnlichkeit, zu der sich als geistige Anlage eine sehr regsame, 
durch keinen griindlichen Unterricht geregelte Phantasie gesellte. 
In der Mitte ihres Wesens stand eine grosse Herzensfreundlichkeit ; 
sie selbst sagte, sie sei zur Wollust geneigt. Ebel beruhigte sie, 
indem er ihr begreiflich machte, jene an sich sei nicht Siinde, sie 
werde es nur, wenn sie vom Feinde gemissbraucht wird, durch die 
Erkenntniss der Wahrheit werde sie geheiligt und zur edlen Wesen- 
haftigkeit erhoben. Friiher wurde sie mit Schonherr durch Ebel 
bekannt; sie glaubte, sie sei das zu jenem gehorige Weib, sah 
jedoch spater ihren Irrthum ein. Ganz und gar Ebel ergeben, in 
ihm das Hochste erblickend und verehrend, wurde sie zu einer voll- 
kommenen zweischneidigen Fanatikerin. Mit ihr zuerst hat Ebel 
die sogenannten geschlechtlichen Reinigungen geiibt, und wie Ebel 
mir erzahlt, wurden diese zuerst von ihr zur Sprache gebracht und 
eingeleitet. Sie, ein stark sinnliches Weib und lange in ge- 
schlechtlicher Erregung durch die sogenannten Reinigungsacte er- 
halten, musste die Ehefrau eines Mannes wie Kanitz werden, weil 
es ermittelt wurde, dass sie Beide schlechthin zusammengehoren 
und zwar eben dadurch, dass sie die beiden Zeugen wiiren, von 
denen in der Apokalypse gesprochen ist. Mit Freude ging sie das 
Ehebiindniss ein, doch sehr bald sprach sie ihr innigstes Mitleiden 
iiber Kanitz aus. Nur wenige Jahre lebte sie verheirathet, und in 
den letzten Stunden ihres Lebens, in welchen ich bis zu ihrem 
Verscheiden bei ihr gewesen und sie beobachtet habe, hat sie wohl 
eine bedeutende Veriinderung erfahren. Ebel namlicb hatte mit 
einem unendlichen Redestrome in sie hineingeredet, ihr Bestel- 
lungen nach dem Himmel, besonclers an den Herrn Christus (wie er 
eben dort ist) aufgetragen und sie ihn empfanglich hingebend und 
aufmerksam, dann wenigstens geduldig angehort; nun aber bat sie 


ihn, inne zu halten und ihr das heilige Abendmahl zu reichen, nach. 
welchem sie verlange. Da er aber mit jenen Reden fortfuhr, so 
wurden ihre Bitten dringender, endlich gebot sie ihm Stillschweigen 
und die schleunige Reichung des Mahles. Diese Handlung wnrde 
nun kirchlich vollzogen ; sie, dadurch sehr beruhigt, sprach kein 
lautes Wort mehr, noch auch liess sie zu sich reden, sondern blieb 
imtiefsten, andacbtigsten, stillen Gebete noch raehre Stunden, und 
verschied sanft. Ich babe die moralische und feste Ueberzeugung, 
dass Gott ihr redliches Herz angesehen nnd eben in dieser letzten 
Stunde sie von allem Irrthume geheilt habe. Ruhe und Friede sei 
mit ihr ! 

2. Grafin Ida von der Groben. Mehres und nicht Unwesent- 
liches ist bereits im Yerlaufe dieser Darstellung zur Bezeichnung 
ihrer ausgezeichneten Person! ichkeit bemerkt worden, einiges 
gewiss jedoch zu einer vollkommenen Charakteristik nicht Zurei- 
chendes muss noch hinzugefiigt werden. Schon in ihrer roman- 
tisch-phantastischen Zeit, die bis zu ihrer naheren Verbindung 
mit Ebel reicht, war in ihr eine besondere Charakterstarke zur 
festesten Ausflihrung gefasster Vorsatze ausgebildet. Sie, sehr 
jung verheirathet, von ausserst zartem Korperbau, von Natur 
eigentlich sehr weichlich (was sich auch nach ihrer so genannten 
Erweckung und als sie schon vollkommen geheiligt, die neue 
Natur angezogen hatte, wiederum sehr deutlich zeigte,) fand es 
fur ein ritterliches Weib ungeziemend, iiber korperliche Leiden 
zu klagen, oder wohl gar Schmerzenslaute auszustossen. Sie 
fasste daher den Vorsatz, auch in der Stunde der Geburtsnoth 
sich keinen Schmerzenston entschliipfen zu lassen, und so fiihrte 
sie es auch aus, obwohl, schon als Erstgebiirende hochst leidend, 
sie auch noch eine kiinstliche Geburt zu iiberstehen hatte. Nach 
vielen Jahren, als sie lange schon " im neuen Leben ,1 gestanden 
hatte> litt sie an einer kleinen Eiteransammlung unter einem 
Hiihnerauge ; es musste Etwas operirt werden, aber die ganze 
Operation war keine andere, als die bei gewohnlichen Hiihner- 
augen ; doch erfasste sie Furcht und Zagen, sie bat und beschwor 
mich, doch nur ja recht schon end und vorsichtig zu verfahren. 
Ich fiihre dies an und fiige zugleich etwas Allgemeines hinzu, 
weil mir hierin etwas Charakteristisches, nicht bios der einzelnen 
Person, sondern der ganzen Verbindung und ihres innerlichen 
Zustandes zu liegen scheint. Seit fast 30 Jahren sehe ich taglich 
Kranke, seit 26 Jahren bin ich Arzt, nie aber habe ich im kranken 


Zustande Personen weichlicher und fnrchtsamer, ja audi nur so 
weichlich und furchtsam sich benehraen gesehen als eben die 
Mitglieder dieses Kreises, und zwar sind sie es in dem Maasse 
mehr, je lioher sie im Kreise stehen und sich wirklich demselben 
innerlich angeschlossen liaben. Obenan in dieser Beziehung stand 
Ebel selbst, dann folgte Grafin Ida von der Groben. Sie haben 
namlich die Ueberzengtmg, dass auch ibr Leib nunmehr eine viel 
hohere Bedeutung habe, iiberdies in sicb selbst so veredelt und der 
neuen Natur angemessen sei, dass gar nicbt gegen ibn zu kampfen, 
seine Gefiihle nicbt zu unterdriicken und nicbt zu iiberwinden 
seien, wohl aber mussten sie ibn ausserst sorgfaltig bewahren und 
scbiitzen ; dagegen aber treffe sie Etwas, das um dasjenige sich 
bewegt, was sie die Sache, ihre Sache, Gottes Sache nennen, und 
erfordere dies eine Uebernahme korperlicher Schmcrzen, auch der 
grossesten, so wurden sie gewiss ruhig und standbaft ertragen. 
Doch ich will lieber nicht weiter im Plural reden ; denn weder von 
Ebel selbst, noch von Kanitz, noch von Diestel glaube ich es recht, 
von der Grafin v. d. Groben ist es aber gewiss, und eben so batten 
sich die verstorbene Grafin von Kanitz und in gleicher Weise 
Fraiilein Emilie v. Schrotter verbalten. Nun aber fabre ich fort : 
diese Frau, diese wahrhaft edle Natur hat in Ebel Alles erblickt, 
Alles gefnnden und erhalten, was sie irgend sich hat ersehen 
konnen; er ist ibr Geliebter, ihr Mann, ihr Erloser, ja, wie es in 
irgend einem anderen Zusammenhange gar nicht moglich ware, 
ihr Gott; er ist ihr Inhalt auf Erden und im Himmel, fur Zeit 
und Ewigkeit ihm zu dienen, ist ihr Freiheit ; ihm ein Opfer zu 
bringen, ware ibr das Herzblut nicht zu theuer; sondern das 
Liebste, ihm sich hinzngeben, ganz, widerstandlos ; in ihm voll- 
kommen sich zu verlieren — was konnte ihr Hoheres begegnen, wie 
konnte sie selbst sich besser und veredelter empfinden und finden, 
als in ihm ! und wiirde Ebel ihr sagen : " Ida, gehe bin und senke 
diesem Menschen den Dolch in's Herz " — sie wiirde ihn nur an- 
blicken, um zu sehen, ob es sein Ernst sei ; fande sie dies, so ginge 
sie hin und thiite es ; ist er denn Mensch, dass er irren konnte ? 
Ja, sie thate mehr, mehr wenigstens als Selbstopfer : wiirde ihr 
Ebel sagen : Ida, gehe hin, liebe diesen Menschen und gieb dich 
ihm als Weib hin, auch dies wiirde sie, wenn vielleicht auch unter 
Thriinen, aber doch ohne alien Zweifel und in willigstem Geborsam 
thun. Dass diese Schilderung vollkommen wahr und sehr miissig 
ausgedriickt sei, davon bin ich innigst und durch die genaueste 


Kenntniss eben dieser Personlichkeit iiberzeugt. Zusammen- 
schaudern muss freilich jeder Unbefangene dariiber, Jeder aber 
auch, der dabei denkt, was ein mensehliches Herz ist, und was eine 
menschliclie Seele, wird bekennen miissen, dass dieses Herz, diese 
Seele ein Gegenstand wiirdiger Betrachtung sei und innigster 
Tbeilnahme ; und Niemand wird leugnen, dass ein holier Grad 
angestammten und ausgebiideten inneren Adels dazu gehort, um 
so weit sich verirren, so tief fallen zu konnen. Aber webe dem 
Verfiihrer ! er hat diese edle Seele, dieses treufeste Herz Gott 
entwendet, ihm einen anderen hineingelogen ! — Eben diese Hinge- 
bung aber, die gewiss eben so wenig gewahrt als angenommen 
werden sollte, ist zu einer schweren Fessel fur Ebel selbst geworden. 
Demi mit der grossten Strenge sieht nun die Griifin v. d. Groben 
niclit nur darauf, dass Niemand aus dem Kreise die tiefste, ja recht 
eigentlich gottliche Ehrerbietung und unbedingten Gehorsam ihm 
verweigere, sondern er selbst darf sich keinen Augenblick mensch- 
lichen Schwachen iiberlassen, d. h. nicht der Schwiiche, ein bios 
gewohnlicher Mensch zu sein ; dies wird sogleich als eine sclmeli 
zu beseitigende Anfeehtung aus der alten Natur gedeutet ; unter 
sehr freundlicher Geberdung nimmt er dann audi eine solche 
Mahnung an und tritt sogleich in die Stellung als vollkommener 
Mensch wieder ein. Offenbar aber ist er in dem Wahne, den er 
selbst ausgestreut (an den er selbst seiner Schlauheit und ausser- 
lichen Tendenz nach niemals fest geglaubt hat,) immer enger und 
enger eingeschlossen und gebunden. Sie selbst, wie es nun einmal 
in ihr geworden, vermag nicht anders zu denken, zu sehen und zu 
handeln ; kiime ihr eine Stimme vom Himmel mit dem Zurufe : 
" Ebel hat dich getauscht, betrogen, er ist ein Mensch, ja ein sehr 
siindhafter und verschmitzter Mensch," sie wiirde ihm als einem 
feindlichen, aus der Holle kommend nicht glauben ; denn sie ist 
iiberzeugt, ihren himmlischen Freund und Erloser, dessen Weib 
zu sein sieja die selige Bestimmung hat, gefunden, mit Augen 
gesehen und inbriinstig umschlungen zu haben, und er ist bei ihr, 
und sie ist bei ihm ! Und nur in dieser festen Ueberzeugung kann 
sie sich selbst fassen und begreifen ; unter jeder anderen Bedingung 
miisste sie sich ja selbst als eine Prostituirte betrachten und ver- 
abscheuen ! Freilich wiirde Ebel selbst seinen innersten Hochmuth 
nur so weit brechen konnen, um von dem tiefen Elend, das er um 
sich angerichtet, geriihrt und erweicht zu werden, wiirde er dann 
noch etwas tiefer in sich blicken, mit welcher schlangenherzigen 


Kiilte er es zugelassen, dass sich Strome der wiirmsten Liebe liber 
ihn ergossen, ohne dass er einen Laut der Wahrheit, ein Wort 
menschlicher Aufrichtigkeit zur Erwiederung gespendet, wiirde 
es ihm dann vielleicht zura ersten Male seit langer, langer Zeit 
bange urn's Herz und schliige Angst in seine verhartete Seele ein : 
— dann wiirde er wohl vor Allen zu ihr, zu dieser getauschten, 
edlen Frau hineilen, ihr zu Fiissen mit dem Bekenntnisse stiirzen, 
dass er ein sehr schwacher, tief verschuldeter, unglucklicher Mensch, 
dessen drei Kardinal-Laster, Augenlust, Fleischeslust und hoffarti- 
ges Wesen, sein Innerstes zerwiihlt, dass er ein hochmiithiger, 
wolliistiger und verschmitzter Pfaffe sei ! Ach, dass er es tliate ! 
sie wiirde ihm glauben und ihm vergeben, Ruhe aber und Verge- 
bung fur sich selbst suchen und finden, wo sie allein nur zu suehen 
und zu finden sind, bei dem allbarmherzigen Gott ; ihr Herz wiirde 
stark genug sein, um diesen hartesten Schlag zu ertragen ; denn sie 
ist stark, und es konnte ihr der Trost, beim Suchen des Guten und 
Wahren in die tiefste Tauschung gestiirzt w r orden zu sein, nicht 
entgehen. Einstweilen thut jedoch Ebel etwas Anderes : er behauptet 
sich in seiner Truggestalt, liisst sich von seiner Umgebung und 
gewiss am Meisten von der beklagenswerthen Grafin v. d. Groben 
die tiefste Adoration gefallen,riihmt seine Keuschheit und Reinheit, 
und kein menschlich wahres Wort kommt liber seine Lippen. 

3. Graf von Kanitz. Seine Personlichkeit zieht zunachst 
durch Milde, sodann durch seine feine Sitte an, welche ein gliick- 
liches Erbtheil vieler Personen aus den hoheren Standen ist. Sein 
Charakter hat nichts Ostensibles, sein Gemlith nichts Widerstre- 
bendes. Aber man kann ihn lange gekannt, ihm sehr nahe 
gestanden haben, ohne etwas Positives in ihm gefunden zu haben ; 
man kann bei vollstandiger und nicht unangenehmer personlicher 
Erscheinung nicht leerer von allem personlichen Inhalte sein, als 
er es ist. Man kann nicht einmal sagen, er sei unselbststandig ; 
denn man findet gar kein Selbst, dem er innerlich folgen, oder von 
dem er sich entfernen konnte. Dabei ohne griindliche Kenntnisse 
irgend einer Art, also ohne Stlitzung innerlich, ohne festen Anhalt 
ausserlich. Seine Jugend fallt in die Zeit, in welcher die Alien 
selbst sich jugendlich erweckt fiihlten, die Jugend aber zur reinsten 
Flamme der Vaterlandsliebe aufgelodert und von einem allgemei- 
nen religiosen Gefiihle ergriffen war. Von diesem damals in 
ganz Deutschland, vorziiglich aber in unserm Vaterlande wehenden 
Geiste ist auch er nach dem Masse seiner Empfanglichkeit berlihrt 


worden ; er machte den Feldzug mit und kehrte mit einer militari- 
schen Dekoration zuriick. Erne solche Personiichkeit hat nun das 
natiirliche Bediirfniss zur Anlehnung gegen einen Andern, nur 
weiss sie freilich niclit die reclite zu suchen und zu finden, jeden- 
falls wird sie selber viel leichter hingenommen von Anderen, die 
Absicliten, gute oder iible, haben und verfolgen. Kanitz 
glaubt, Ebel gefunden zu haben, in Wahrheit aber hat Ebel 
Kanitz genommen. Misslicheres, ja Ungliicklicheres hatte 
sick fur Kanitz gar nicht ereignen konnen ; denn, an einen 
so absichtsvollen, versatilen Mann angeschlossen, war jede Mog- 
lichkeit fur ihn verloren, irgend wann oder irgend wo einen 
Schwerpunkt in sich selbst zu finden. Und dies auch ist in 
der That voliig unterblieben. Kanitz vermag Nichts, und thut 
Nichts, als fort und fort gleichsam die Lection aufsagen, die Ebel 
ihm aufgegeben, nicht zu lernen, sondern die Worte selbst sind 
mitgegeben, das darf nur aufgesagt werden, und dies ist seit mehr 
als 20 Jahren das ausschliessliche Thun des Grafen v. Kanitz. 
Denn das ist freilich einerlei, ob er sagt und thut, was Ebel oder 
durch ihn die Grafin v. d. Groben oder irgend Jemand, der zu Ebel 
gehort und doch selbst noch irgend Etwas ist, ihm zu sagen oder 
zu thun aufgegeben. Es kann daher allerdings sogar possierlich 
erscheinen, wenn Jemand, der wie Graf von Kanitz so ganz und gar 
den Eindruck absoluter Schwache macht, sich starker Ausdriicke 
bedient ; es erklart sich aber ganz leicht dadurch, dass sie zur 
Lection gehoren. Mit einem Worte, es kann eigentlich vom Gra- 
fen von Kanitz gar nicht als von einer bestimmten geistigen Indi- 
viduality die Rede sein, und eben nur dies ist's, was hier liber ihn 
bemerkt werden musste. Wird einst Ebel entlarvt sein, dann wird 
Kanitz wie aus einem Traume erwachen und dann ein formlich 
harmloser, wohlwollender, giitiger Mensch sein, denn dazu hat er 
die natiirliche Bestimmung und den reinen Zug des Herzens. Bis 
dahin sagt und thut er, was Ebel ihm befiehlt. 

4. Der Prediger Diestel. Weder eine tiefe, noch schwierige, 
noch verwickelte Natur, ist's dennoch schwer, iiber diesen Mann zu 
reden, wenn es darauf ankommt, ihn ps} 7 chologisch zu charakteri- 
siren. Es wollen sich namlich hiezu nicht leicht und auch nicht, 
wenn man sorgfaltig sucht, Ausdriicke finden, die bezeichnend waren 
und doch nicht ent weder den Anstand etwas verletzend oder den 
Verdacht erregend, dass sie ohne Noth zu stark seien. In solcher 
Verlegenheit ist man immer, wenn man anstiindig und wahr sprechen 



soil von Personen, gegen welche Nichts ungeziemender sein kann, 
als ungemessener, unmiissiger, oder wolil gar roher Ausdruck. 
Von Verirrungen, selbst von der tiefsten, ja sogar von offenbaren 
Schlechtigkeiten kann man, wenn es sein muss, vor den gebildet- 
sten und fein gesinnten Personen ohne Verlegenheit sprechen ; 
denn jene Dinge beziehen sich auf sittliche Zustande, die zu be- 
trachten oft ein sittliches Gebot, niemals aber unwiirdig, am We- 
nigsten widerwiirtig sein kann ; das Gemeine aber erregt Ekel. 
Man denke sich einen Mann von einer ungemeinen natiirlichen 
Grobheit mid einem heftig polternden Wesen, der eben nur in sol- 
chem Anfaliren und Anlassen Anderer zum Gefiihle eigner Tuch- 
tigkeit zu gelangen vermag ; dabei, wie harte und rohe Menschen 
immer zu sein pllegen, eine knechtische Natur, d. h. in schmutziger 
Unterwerfung sich wohl gefallend, wenn sie nur ausserhalb dieser 
selben Zahmung Alles anfahren und angreifen kann, ja wohl zum 
Theil hiezu von der eignen Herrschaft bestimmt ist. Innerlich 
verworren, platt sinnlich, alle geistige Thatigkeit nur unter der 
Form des Streites und diesen selbst nur als rohen Zank begreifend 
und iibend — denkt man sich einen Solchen, so hat man die all- 
gemeine Grundlage des Herrn Prediger Diestel, die freilich keine 
zu einem rein menschlichen, noch weniger aber zu einem anziehenden 
Charakter ist. Es muss aber noch hinzugenommen werden : er 
hatte friiher Jura studirt, dann aber sich zum Studium der Theo- 
logie gewendet; wiihrend dieses Studiums, noch auf der Universitat 
ist er mit Schonherr in Verbindung getreten und, von diesem als 
ein Engel aus der Apokalypse erkannt, Heinrich Siegelbrecher 
genannt worden. Wie wenig tief oder nur mit wissenschaftlichem 
Ernst er die Theologie studirt, zeigt eben seine friihe Verbindung 
mit Schonherr, wie wenig er aber audi fur sich innerlich hingegeben 
hat, beweist seine Trennung von Schonherr beim Eintritt in's geist- 
liche Amt. (Landgeistlichen, auch mehren sehr voluminosen Be- 
lehrungsbriefen, der kleinste fiillte ein ziemlich starkes Quartheft, 
die Fraulein von Derschau, spatere Grafin von Kanitz, ihm ge- 
schrieben, antwortete er weder miindlich noch schriftlich ; denn sie 
drang auf ihn mit grossem Ernst, mit entschiedener, freilich phan- 
tastischer Schiirfe ein, und da zog sich denn seine feige Natur zu- 
riick, wie mun ja sogar von sonst wilden und reissenden Thieren 
erzahlt, dass sie durch entschlossenen, ernst menschlichen Blick in 
die Flucht getrieben werden.) So wandelte er denn lange hin, von 
Wenigen bemerkt, aber, wie er nachher von sich selbst zur grossen 


Bescliwerde derer, die es anzuhoren batten, erzahlte, in grosser Sorg- 
losigkeit urn seinem sittlichen Zustand, in trager Hingebung an 
seine Sinnlichkeit. Aber freilich war ihm fur sein Amt am Ange- 
messensten und seiner Natur am Entsprechendsten, dass er ein 
heftig polternder Prediger blieb, und hiezu war eine dogmatische 
Anschliessnng an die kirchliche Orthodoxie am Bequemsten, so 
wie ihm wohl friiher in der Verbindung mit Schonherr nicht dessen 
Lehre an sich, sondern das damit verbundene Schimpfen, Verachten 
und Wegwerfen alles Anderen das anziigliche Wesen zu sein 
scheint. Im Jahre 1821 (wenn ich nicht irre, aueh schon friiher) 
tritt er wiederum in eine neue Verbindung mit Ebel, mit dem er 
jedoch, ausserlich einmal von diesem sehr verachtet, immer in eini- 
gem Zusammenhange geblieben war. Das Nachste, was er nun 
that, um seine Reue darzuthun, war ein Umherrennen zu den Mit- 
gliedern des Kreises, um vor ihnen nicht sowohl Sundenbekenntnisse 
abzulegen, als vielmehr wie ein Wasserkobold Strome von Sunden 
aus sich herauszufluthen und herabzustiirzen. Was aber das wirk- 
liche Thun anlangt, so hatte er dafiir ein besonderes Abkommen 
mit sich getroffen. Es war z. B. nicht gestattet, Taback zu rauchen 
oder zu schnupfen ; Letzteres hatte er nie gethan, Ersteres setzte 
er aber auch jetzt noch fort. Wie aber erklart er dies ? er thue es, 
um sich vor sich selbst zu demuthigen und sich im Siindengefuhle 
zu erhalten. Es war ferner schwer verpont, Kinder zu zeugen voi- 
der volligen Wiedergeburt (und zu dieser war kein miiimliches Glied 
des Kreises — versteht sich, mit Ausnahme Ebel's — gelangt); Diestel 
zeugte Kinder; warnm? wie erklart er dies? es sei abscheulich, 
sagte er, aber es diene ihm, es fiihre ihn immer tiefer in die Ueber- 
zeugung seiner Schwachheit, und dass er immer wieder von vorn 
anfangen miisse. 

Niemand im Kreise verkannte ihn damals, man sah ihn als einen 
sehr fleischlichen Menschen an; Ebel gab sich mit ihm wenig, die 
Anderen ungern ab ; die Heuchelei lag oben auf. So im Ganzen 
blieb er, und so blieb es mit ihm bis zur Zeit meines Ausscheiclens 
aus diesem Kreise, im August 1825. Ein Jahr spiiter haben sich 
auch Olshausen und v. Tippelskirch aus dieser Verbindung heraus- 
gelost, und da es dann wohl rathsam war, im Kreise selbst einige 
Promotionen vorzunehmen, so mag Diestel wohl zu einer hoheren 
Stellung berufen worden sein. Doch kann ich naturlich nicht sagen, 
welche besondere Aufgabe man ihm gestellt, welches besondere Amt 
man ihm iibcrtragen haben mag ; gewiss nur ist, dass er nichts 


Anderes thun konnte, als wozu er fahig ist, und was er denn audi 
wirklich, so weit es zur ofFentlichen Erscheinung gevvorden ist, 
gethan hat : er ist unglaublich grob, anfahrend, polternd, schmii- 
liend gewesen, und natiirlich ganz aus dem oben naher angegebenen 
taktischen Princip gegen den Teufel, d. h. er bezog sicli entschieclen 
lligend auf das Zeugniss Gottes, dem er ja diente, wenn er im 
Kampfe gegen den Teufel log. 

Davon wimmelt es in seinen Schriften gegen Olshausen, die in 
der That nur Schmiihschriften sind, von ihm jedoch kraftige, ja 
erschiittemde genannt werden. Theils aus seiner Natur, theils aber 
aus der verkehrtesten-Anwendung seiner juristischen Studien hat 
er sich eine der widerwartigsten Arten ohnehin sclion unwiirdiger 
und verachtlicher Rabulistereien hier ausgebildet, welche ihm nun 
als Waffe zur Vertheidigung, ja als Stellvertreterin gesunder Logik 
dienen muss, so wie ihm die ziigelloseste Grobheit als Surrogat der 
Entschiedenheit gilt. Doch ich breche ab ; denn es ist in der That 
unmoglich, iiber diesen Mann geziemend zu reden, wenn man nicht 
in eine Ausdrucksweise gerathen soil, die man selbst eben so un- 
ziemlich fur's Aussprechen, als fiir das Yernehmen halten muss. 

5. Endlich sollte hier noch Einiges iiber mich selbst bemerkt 
vcrden. Dass ich es aber nicht unternehmen werde, eine Schil- 
.lerung von mir selbst zu entwerfen, versteht sich von selbst. 
Denn von Vorziigen, die ich etwa hatte, zu reden, ware widerwartig, 
und mich gegen die Anklage Ebel's und seiner Anhiinger zu 
vertheidigen, unwiirdig. Seit einem Viertel Jahrhundert lebe ich 
an hiesigem Orte als Arzt, seit 20 Jahren als akademischer Lehrer 
bei der hiesigen Universitat ; es giebt keine Klasse der Einwohner 
hier, die mich nicht kennt, mit der ich nicht in nliherer oder ent- 
fernterer Beziehung gewesen ware ; es kennen mich meine Mit- 
biirger, meine Berufs-und Amtsgenossen, es kennt mich iibrigens 
auch Deutschland als wissenschaftlichen Schriftsteller meines Fachs. 
Mogen Andere, mogen die, welche mich kennen mlissen, ein Ur- 
theil iiber meinen menschlichen, sittlichen, biirgerlichen und wis- 
senschaftlichen Charakter aussprechen, mogen sie entscheiden, ob 
das, was Ebel und die Seinen iiber und gegen mich ausgesagt haben, 
wahr sein kann oder gelogen sein muss. 

Denn in der That, sie haben mich solcher Vergehungen, solches 
Lebenswandels beziichtigt, die sich nicht verdecken lassen konnten, 
von Allen also, die mich kennen, gekannt sein mussten, und wer 
1st an einem Orte mehr gekannt als ein alter Arzt ? — Ich kenne 


nicht einmal Alles, ja ich kenne nur einen Theil dessen, was Ebel 
und sein Anhang gegen micli vorgebracht haben ; es ist dies aber 
so entstellt, zum Theil so in Unwahrheit und bosliclie Deutung 
gezogen, theils anch so rein erlogen, dass ich in den mannigfachen 
Vermahnungen, die ich als Zeuge in dieser Untersuchungsangele- 
genheit zu iiberstehen hatte, es mir vom Herrn Inquirenten erbeten 
habe, mir eine genauere nnd weitere Kenntnissnahme der'Injurien, 
Verleumdungen u. s. w., die jene Leute gegen mich vorgebracht, 
zu erlassen ; dagegen mich zu vertheidigen hatte ich als etwas 
Schimpfliches empfunden, Injurienklagen aber gegen Personen zu 
erheben, die in Ehrenschandung Anderer ihr letztes Vertheidigungs- 
und Rettungsmittel suchen, war ich nicht geneigt; und Alles zu 
vermeiden, was vielieicht doch mich innerlich hiitte erregen konnen, 
schien mir Pflicht. Nur Einiges will ich hier nennen und durch 
wenige erlauternde Worte begleiten. Bancroft Library 

a. Ebel hat gegen mich als Zeugen protestirt ; ich wiinschte, 
die hohe Behorde hatte seine Protestation angenommen, da ich 
alsdann grosser und schmerzlicher Unannehmlichkeiten iiberhoben 
gewesen ware. Sein Grund aber, den er angab (andere und bessere 
hatte er gewiss ; er wusste ja, dass ich ihn durchschaut, aber dies 
verschwieg er kluglich,) war : ich sei notorisch sein Feind. Noto- 
risch ! Wem ist dies bekannt ? warum nennt er nicht solche That- 
sachen ? Was habe ich je, auch nach meiner Trennung von ihm, 
Feindseliges gegen ihn unternommen ? warum nennt er nicht solche 
Thatsachen? warum nicht eine einzige ? Ja, er, und nicht er 
allein weiss es, dass ich, lange schon von ihm geschieden, nicht 
aufgehort habe, wohlwollend gegen ihn gesinnt zu sein. Ich will 
em Beispiel nennen : mehre Jahre nach unserer Trennung erkrankte 
er schwer und litt sehr lange ; in der Stadt waren die schlimmsten, 
ehrenruhrigsten Geriichte iiber Grund und Ursache seiner Krank- 
heit verbreitet. Wie wenig aber, wie schwierig wenigstens ein 
Arzt, der mit den friiheren Lebensverhaltnissen Ebel's nicht be- 
kannt war, und dem aufrichtige Mittheilungen zu machen, er gewiss 
nicht geneigt war, den wahren Grund des Uebels werde fmden, also 
auch die entsprechende Behandlungsweise werde anwenden konnen, 
konnte mir nicht entgehen. Oft nahm ich hieriiber Riicksprache 
mit Olshausen, endlich entschloss ich mich, Ebel das Anerbieten 
zu machen, mit seinem Arzte, einem mir sehr lieben Kollegen, 
zusammenzutreteu, um auf die fur ihn schonendste Weise diesem 
meine Ansicht von der Natur (wenn auch nicht von den moralischen 


Ursachen) der Krankheit mitzutheilen. Ebel liess mir eine schrift- 
liche Antwort durcli Diestel ertheilen, in welcher er das Aner- 
bieten zwar ablehnte, aber fiir die grosse Liebe, die ichihm dadurch 
zu erkennen gegeben, dankte, versichernd, sie habe ihm ausseror- 
dentlich wohlgethan. Und nun nennt er micli seinen Feind ? seinen 
notorischen Feind? 

b. Ebel behauptet, der Verlust an Einnahme, den ich 
durch die Trennung von ihm und den Seinen habe, schmerze 
mich und mache mich ihm feindlich gesinnt. Ich sage Nichts 
von der edlen Gesinnung, aus welcher solche Conjectur allein 
entspringen kann, thatsachlich aber ist Folgendes : allerdings 
habe ich aus friiher schon entwickelten natiirlichen Griinden aus- 
serlich sehr durch meine -Verbindung mit ihm gelitten, und meine 
Verhaltnisse sind dadurch sehr gedriickt gewesen ; dies jedoch mit 
Anderem, viel Schwererem habe ich geduldig getragen. Seit ich 
aber von ihm getrennt bin, sind mir freilich alle Ebelianer, von 
denen ich sonst ein Einkommen durch arztliches Honorar gehabt, 
entgangen ; mein Einkommen aber hat trotz diesem Verluste seit- 
dem beinahe um das Dreifache sich vermehrt, was ich hiemit eidlich 

c. Ebel behauptet, er habe mir noch einige sogenannte arztliche 
Freunde gelassen und somit auch ein Einkommen, was er durch ein 
einziges Wort hatte auflieben konnen. Wahr ist hiervon nur, dass 
mir allerdings noch einige arme Ebelianer blieben, aber bios, weil 
er selbst sich immer mit den Armen wenig in Befreundung ein- 
gelassen. Wenn ich 10 Thaler jahrlich fiir meine Gesammtein- 
nahme von der damals mir gebliebenen Praxis bei Ebelianern von 
Jemandem erhielte, so wiirde dieses mehr als um die Halfte zu- 
kommen, was ich auch eidlich versichere. 

d. Ebel hat behauptet, er konne, wenn ich ihm das Beichtsiegel 
zu brechen gestatten wollte, Dinge von mir aussagen, die meine 
Glaubhaftigkeit als Zeugen auf heben wiirden. Dies vielleicht bei- 
spiellose Verfahren eines Geistlichen, dazu eines evangelischen, will 
ich hier nicht beurtheilen ; es weiht und schiindet sich selbst hin- 
reichend. Ich habe ihm diese Erlaubniss ertheilt unter der Bedin- 
gung, dass mir seine Aussagen zur Einsicht mitgetheilt wiirden. Er 
hat Nichts ausgesagt, wenigstens ist mir Nichts mitgetheilt worden, 
was doch hatte geschehen miissen. 

e. Diestel hat schriftliche Slindenbekenntnisse von mir zu den 
Acten gegeben. Woher hat er jene Papiere ? sie sind von mir 


niedergesehrieben und in den dazu bestimmten Ausdriicken nieder- 
gescbrieben auf ausdriickliches und hartes Andringen der Grafin 
v. d. Groben und der verstorbenen Grafin v. Kanitz ; dieser auch 
liabe ich sie iibergeben. Zur Niederschreibung und Auslieferung 
dieser mir grosstentheils aufgegebenen und aufgebiirdeten Siinden- 
bekenntnisse bat man micb genothigt, wenige Tage, nachdem ich 
das Ungliick gehabt, meine erste Frau durch den Tod zu verlieren, 
also in einer innerlich getriibten und zerrissenen Gemiithsstimmung. 
Zweimal batte ich in ich von Ebel und den Seinigen zuriickgezogen 
(Kanitz sagt : weggeschlichen ; nur wer mich kennt, weiss, dass 
man mir eben so gut, d. h. eben so unwahr nachsagen konnte : ich 
floge, als dass ich schleiche). Jetzt sollte ich mit Stricken gebun- 
den werden, und dazu benutzte man meine damalige Gemiithsstim- 
mung. Ich habe diese mir jetzt vorgelegten Papiere nicht ansehen 
mogen, weil sie mich zum Tbeil mit Indignation iiber mich selbst 
wegen der Schwache, die ich damals gezeigt, erfiillten. Ich be- 
merke nur das : wahrscheinlich hat man nur eine Auswahl von 
jenen Papieren dem Ricbter iibergeben ; sind aber alle mitgetheilt, 
so miissen sich darin mehrere sehr iible Dinge von und iiber Ebel 
befinden, unter Anderm ein wirklicber Schurkenstreich ! Nnr 
solche, eben diese Papiere bewahrt man auf (ich habe Alles, was 
ich in Handen gebabt, bis auf ein Privatschreiben gleich nach 
meiner Trennung zu verbrennen fiir Pflicht gehalten), handigt sie 
nun aus und tragt sie zum Richter ! Und wer thut's ? Diestel, 
ein Geistlicher, dem ich jene Papiere eingegeben ; Siindenbekennt- 
nisse schleppt ein Geistlicher zum weltlichen Kichter ! ! — Wer kann 
hierauf etwas Anderes sagen als : pfui ! niedertrachtig ! Und was 
will er damit ? was sollen sie beweisen ? dass ich als Zeuge un- 
glanbhaft sei, weil ich ein Sunder bin ? als solcher mich fiihle, 
bekenne? so argumentirt ein Geistlicber? ein evangel i sch er ? so 
argumentiren Personen, die strengere Beichte abgefordert haben, 
als je in der katholischen Kirche geschehen ist ? hat man ihnen 
nicht schon Gesinnungen als Siinden, als wirkliche Siinden bekennen 
miissen ? Nun wahrlich, woriiber soil man sich bei solchem Yer- 
fahren mehr wundern, iiber die Bosheit des Herzens oder iiber die 
Verleugnung jeder christlichen Natur ? 

/. Diestel hat Zeugen, 4 ungliickliche Frauenzimmer, alle alt, 
alle von Natur wenig ausgestattet, korperlich sogar zum Theil 
gezeicbnete Personen vor Gericht gefiihrt, um auszusagen, dass ich 
sinnliche Begierden gegen sie gezeigt. Gelogen ! ekelhaft und 


dnmm gelogen ! Mlidchen z. B. (allerdings setir alte) sagen aus : 
ich kiisse wie ein "Wolliistling ! Woher wissen Madchen so Etwas ? 
welcher Geistliche, doch nein, welch er Pfaffe hat ihnen gesagt, dass 
sie sogar deni Richter vorliigen sollen ? — Ein anderes altes Miid- 
chen sagt : sie sei mir arztlich sehr verpflichtet, aber ich hiitte 
arztlich sie doch vernachlassigt und sie dennoch geliebt ! — Eine 
steinalte Frau, Mutter mehrer erwaclisener Kinder, eine Fran, die 
ich nur Iirztlich wahrend einer Krankheit gesehen, in welch er sie 
an heftigem Speichelfluss gelitten, sagt : ich habe sie gekiisst ; 
wahrlich, dies hiitte nnr aus Barmherzigkeit und in grosster Selbst- 
verleugnung geschehen konnen. — Doch genug von Dingen, die als 
wahrhafte Tollheiten erscheinen miissten, wenn sie nicht dennoch 
schlau und boshaft waxen ; denn im Protokoll stehen doch immer 
Namen und bestimmte Angaben, aber nicht die Bilder der Perso- 
nen, nicht ihre Yerhaltnisse ; es ware ja doch wohl moglich, den 
Richter irre zu leiten ! 

Ich schliesse, wie ich begonnen, nicht Andere anzuklagen, nicht 
mich vertheidigen wollend mit diesen Zeilen. 

Eine dunkle, verwickelte Sache, die einer psychologischen 
Erorterung bediirftig ist, wollte ich einigermassen erliiutern. 

1st dies irgend wie erreicht, so ist der Schmerz, den ich beim 
Niederschreiben empfunden, reichlich belohnt. 

Konigsberg, den 15 July, 1836. 




2S Castle St. Leicester Sq. 


(To be read after the booh.) 

So many persons have asked me for what is called 
a "little help" in reading the story told in ' Spiri- 
tual Wives/ that I am led to offer, by way of final 
note, a few words on what the author meant to do, 
and on what he takes to be the moral bearing of the 
strange facts which it became his duty to set forth. 

One day, when standing near the Holy Sepul- 
chre, he saw two swarthy penitents start from their 
knees and fly at each other's throat : knives flashed 
out from belts ; mob rushed against mob ; and the 
holy fane had to be cleared of these worshippers by 
the Arab guard. " What is it all about V he 
asked a Turk. The grave Oriental smiled : — " No 
one can tell. The young men are converts and 
full of pride. Their heads are turned ; they have 
no longer any habits to curb their zeal ; they would 
take the life of man, and call their crime the act 
of God. Pesto ! they are mad" 

At that time, he was studying on the spot the 
first plantation on this earth of a Religion of Love. 
And here was tragic proof of what spiritual pride 
and ignorant zeal could make of even a religion of 
love ! That reflection was the germ of his present 


book, to which further thought and wider travel 
have given the actual name and shape. 

" Spiritual Wives" was a term well known to 
our old divines, by whom it was used to describe 
the demons which enter into wandering and cor- 
rupted hearts. Bishop Bale, in a famous passage, 
tells that story of the "three spiritual wives" — 
namely, Pride, Covetousness, and Lechery — whom 
Bichard Lion Heart assigned to certain holy men. 
The fanatics of our own time have given to the term 
a new importance. 

In this work an attempt is made to describe 
the morbid growth of certain feelings, from their 
birth in the revival camp to their wreck on the 
domestic hearth ; to paint in its diseased activity 
one of those passions which control the innermost 
lives of men ; to show in what subtle and seduc- 
tive ways the poison of spiritua] pride can work 
into the heart ; and, in the end, to warn the young 
seeker after a " newer way " and a " higher law " 
what perils beset his feet the moment he quits the 
safe old path of experience, on any imaginary 
" leading of the spirit." 

All the men and women whose lives are here 
traced — from Archdeacon Ebel and Countess Ida, 
down to the Rev. Abram C. Smith and Mary 
Cragin — began by seeking for a higher kind of 
good. They wandered into peril, not through 
a will inclining them to evil, but through the 
yearning to live a better and a purer life. They 
fell by spiritual pride, by wishing to be " wiser 
than what is written ;" and they passed into the 


stage of mental craze and moral death, through 
having set their hearts on a perfection never to be 
reached on earth. 

It is this moral element in the story of their 
lives which moves our pity for women like Countess 
Ida and Mary Cragin. 

Then, the facts of this story show us how re- 
vivals test the conservative powers of church and 
society in countries which are all of the highest 
type, and have many fine elements of a common 
life. A storm breaks out in England, Germany, 
and the United States. In England that storm 
sweeps by, and leaves the fabric of our church and 
our society untouched. In Germany it produces 
social wreck and ruin. In the United States it 
gives rise to new forms of society and wild experi- 
ments in domestic life. Why this difference of 
result? Is it not mainly because in England 
church and society are friendly, while in Germany 
they are hostile, and in America indifferent ? 

England can shake off men like Prince and 
his followers, because her society is old, her 
churches are the churches of her upper ranks, and 
her religious condition is fixed by the action of her 
educated lay mind. Germany cannot so quickly 
put down men like Ebel and Diestel, because her 
laymen and her theologians are at feud; the 
church is not in real union with society ; and the 
intellect of the country can only act on the divines 
in open fields of conflict. The United States, 
ignoring churches altogether as public bodies, have 
hardly any means (in spite of their many and 


noble religious institutions) of controlling the 
freaks of a revival preacher, except in the last 
resort, when some rustic crowd of miners and 
woodmen, maddened by what they think bad 
doctrine and worse practice, rise on the saint, and 
vindicate public morality with a bag of feathers 
and a box of tar. 

Is there not in all these details food for serious 
thought ? 

Yet a wise reader may find some comfort even 
in the sad and fearful facts displayed. This doc- 
trine of Spirit-brides is but one of our greatest 
virtues run to waste. It is an offspring of that 
Gothic race which invented Home, which elevated 
Woman, which purified Chivalry ; and it springs, 
indeed, from no other source than excess of rever- 
ence and misdirected love. Under all the evils here 
depicted, there lies a ground for rational hope of 
better things. The best of men must have the 
defects of their proper virtues ; must have these 
defects on the scale of their superior gifts. It may 
increase our pity and lessen our dismay — though 
it need not deaden our sense of peril — to find how 
many of our brethren have been led astray by 
instincts which were once noble, as well as by mo- 
tives which were originally pure. 

To critics who suggest that my purpose may 
have been to corrupt, and not to warn, I have 
nothing to say. My writings during twenty years 
are before the world. 

March 26, 1868. 

i, Leicester Square, London, 
October, 1882. 


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